Ron Tugnutt

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Ron Tugnutt
Born (1967-10-22) October 22, 1967 (age 46)
Scarborough, ON, CAN
Height 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Left
Played for AHL
Fredericton Express
Halifax Citadels
Portland Pirates
NHL
Quebec Nordiques
Edmonton Oilers
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Montreal Canadiens
Ottawa Senators
Pittsburgh Penguins
Columbus Blue Jackets
Dallas Stars
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 81st overall, 1986
Quebec Nordiques
Playing career 1987–2004

Ronald Frederick Bradley Tugnutt (born October 22, 1967 in Scarborough, Ontario) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. He played in the NHL with several teams from 19872004 and is currently an assistant coach with the OHL's Peterborough Petes.

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Tugnutt was born in Scarborough, Ontario and played three seasons with the OHL Peterborough Petes. During that time, he won the F. W. "Dinty" Moore Trophy for the rookie with the best goals against average, followed by the Dave Pinkney Trophy for Top Team Goaltending, and was named to the OHL All Star team in 1987.

NHL beginnings[edit]

He was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques in the 4th round (87th overall) of the 1986 NHL Entry Draft. He was primarily used as a backup during his first three pro seasons, bouncing up and down between the AHL's Halifax Citadels and the parent club in Quebec City. During 1990–91 NHL season, Tugnutt played what would be a career high 56 games for Quebec and established himself as a quality NHL starter despite playing for what was then the worst team in the league.

On March 21, 1991, Tugnutt stopped 70 of 73 shots to earn his team a 3-3 tie against the Boston Bruins, the second highest number of saves made in a regular season game in NHL history. His performance in that game evoked such respect that after it was over, several Bruins players skated over to congratulate Tugnutt.[1]

In the midst of an inconsistent 1991–92 NHL season, and with the emergence of Stéphane Fiset as the Nordiques' #1 goaltender, Tugnutt was demoted to the Nordiques' AHL affiliate. In exchange for Martin Ručínský, he was soon traded to the Edmonton Oilers to serve as Bill Ranford's backup. Tugnutt remained in this role until he was selected by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the 1993 expansion draft. In Anaheim, he split goaltending duties with Guy Hebert.

As Anaheim quickly decided that Hebert was to be their future starter, and as the Montreal Canadiens decided that André Racicot and Les Kuntar were not adequately serving as Patrick Roy's backup, Tugnutt was acquired by the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Stephan Lebeau. In his new role, Tugnutt's performance suffered; for Anaheim he posted a .908 save percentage in 28 games. For Montreal, he posted an .860 save percentage in eight games during the 1993-94 season.

During the 1994 Stanley Cup playoffs against the Boston Bruins, Tugnutt started a match as starter Patrick Roy was recuperating from an appendectomy. He did not return to the Canadiens for the 1995–96 season, and was replaced by Patrick Labrecque. These experiences caused Tugnutt to ponder retirement.[2]

Career breakthrough[edit]

In 1995, Tugnutt signed a one year deal with the Washington Capitals, and subsequently spent the entire 1995-96 season with their AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. He was productive in Portland, helping lead the Pirates to the Calder Cup Finals.[3]

It was this strong performance that caught the attention of the Ottawa Senators. With the help of goaltending coach Phil Myre, Tugnutt worked on the fundamentals, gained some confidence and improved his game each season. While in Ottawa, he went from fighting for the backup position with Mike Bales behind starter Damian Rhodes to splitting duties with Rhodes the next two seasons and becoming the team's undisputed starting goaltender by 1999.

In 1998–99, Tugnutt had the best season of his career, and one of the best by an NHL goaltender in the modern era. He posted a league-best goals against average of 1.79, placed second in the league in save percentage at .925, had a career high in wins, and tied a career high in shutouts. This outstanding play, and an injury to Curtis Joseph, gave Tugnutt the opportunity to play in the 1999 NHL All-Star Game.

The next season, Rhodes was shipped to the expansion Atlanta Thrashers, giving Tugnutt sole possession of the starting job. However, he was unable to match his previous season and Ottawa decided to trade him to the Pittsburgh Penguins in favor of an experienced playoff performer, Tom Barrasso.

After arriving in Pittsburgh, Tugnutt took over the starting job from Jean-Sébastien Aubin and helped lead Pittsburgh deep into the playoffs. Tugnutt was in goal for the May 4, 2000, playoff game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He made 70 saves on 72 shots. The 72nd shot was a goal scored by Keith Primeau of the Flyers at 12:01 of the fifth overtime. The final score was Philadelphia 2, Pittsburgh 1, after 152:01 minutes, the longest NHL game since the 1930s.

Following his performance with Pittsburgh, Tugnutt became one of the most sought after free agent goaltenders on the market. Both Ottawa and Pittsburgh attempted to re-sign Tugnutt but were unable to match the lucrative contract offered by the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets.[4][5]

During Columbus' inaugural season, Tugnutt was considered their backbone. Tugnutt's 22 wins broke another NHL record for most wins on an expansion team, and his .917 save percentage was among the best in the league.[6]

The team's second season was not as impressive as the first. Tugnutt battled injuries and ended up sharing time with young netminder Marc Denis. GM Doug MacLean decided that it was time to give Denis the opportunity to be the sole starter on the club, and traded Tugnutt to the Dallas Stars.[7]

Tugnutt went to the Dallas Stars in 2002–03 as the backup to goaltender Marty Turco. In January 2003, Turco suffered an ankle injury that allowed Tugnutt to start almost 20 straight games. He posted back to back shutouts during that stretch. For the season, he played 31 games and posted a 15-10-5 record along with four shutouts.

2003–04 was possibly Tugnutt's toughest in the NHL. From the start of the season to January he only received three starts. He was sent down to the minors for the first time in almost ten years to get some playing time with the Utah Grizzlies. Just five games in, Tugnutt pulled his groin and was out until after the All Star break.[8] Soon after, he was recalled to the Dallas Stars. After two solid starts, one of which was a shutout, Tugnutt finally got the break he was waiting for as Turco received a four game suspension.[9] He would retire following the 2003-04 season.

Post-retirement[edit]

After the lockout, Tugnutt joined CBC as a color commentator for Hockey Night in Canada.[10] From 2008-09 to 2009-10, Tugnutt served as the goaltending coach for the OHL's Oshawa Generals[11] and was a goaltending consultant for the 2010 Canadian World Junior team.[12] Tugnutt's contract with the Generals was not renewed after a major front office shakeup in May 2010.[13] Tugnutt joined the Peterborough Petes coaching staff for the 2010-11 season.

Off the ice[edit]

  • Tugnutt is married to wife Lisa, and the couple have two children.
  • Currently, Tugnutt resides on Stoney Lake near Peterborough, Ontario.
  • He spends much of his free time coaching his kids' minor hockey team.
  • In an interview with LCS Hockey, Tugnutt admitted he is not a movie buff, contradicting earlier Wikipedia information.
  • Tugnutt enjoys boating and traveling. In the summer of 1998, Tugnutt was involved in a severe boating accident. It was suspected that he might miss out on training camp. Ironically enough, Tugnutt healed and had the best season of his career, breaking the modern day NHL record for lowest G.A.A. and coming 2nd in the league in save percentage.[14]

Tugnutt's favorite locker room was the Visitors' locker room at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, especially during his stint with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1984–85 Peterborough Petes OHL 18 7 4 2 938 59 0 3.77
1985–86 Peterborough Petes OHL 26 18 7 0 1543 74 1 2.88
1986–87 Peterborough Petes OHL 31 21 7 2 1891 88 2 2.79
1987–88 Fredericton Express AHL 34 20 9 4 1964 118 1 3.60
1987–88 Quebec Nordiques NHL 6 2 3 0 284 16 0 3.38 .870
1988–89 Halifax Citadels AHL 24 14 7 2 1368 79 1 3.46
1988–89 Quebec Nordiques NHL 26 10 10 3 1367 82 0 3.60 .892
1989–90 Halifax Citadels AHL 6 1 5 0 366 23 0 3.77
1989–90 Quebec Nordiques NHL 35 5 24 3 1978 152 0 4.61 .859
1990–91 Halifax Citadels AHL 2 0 1 0 100 8 0 4.80
1990–91 Quebec Nordiques NHL 56 12 29 10 3144 212 0 4.04 .886
1991–92 Halifax Citadels AHL 8 3 3 1 447 30 0 4.03
1991–92 Quebec/Edmonton NHL 33 7 18 3 1707 116 1 4.08 .864
1992–93 Edmonton Oilers NHL 26 9 12 2 1338 93 0 4.17 .879
1993–94 Anaheim/Montreal NHL 36 12 18 2 1898 100 1 3.16 .900
1994–95 Montreal Canadiens NHL 7 1 3 1 346 18 0 3.12 .895
1995–96 Portland Pirates AHL 58 21 23 6 3068 171 2 3.34 .898
1996–97 Ottawa Senators NHL 37 17 15 1 1991 93 3 2.80 .895
1997–98 Ottawa Senators NHL 42 15 14 8 2236 84 3 2.25 .905
1998–99 Ottawa Senators NHL 43 22 10 8 2508 75 3 1.79 .925
1999–2000 Ottawa/Pittsburgh NHL 51 22 14 8 2809 118 4 2.52 .903
2000–01 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 53 22 25 5 3129 127 4 2.44 .917
2001–02 Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 44 12 27 3 2502 119 2 2.85 .900
2002–03 Dallas Stars NHL 31 15 10 5 1701 70 4 2.47 .896
2003–04 Dallas Stars NHL 11 3 7 0 548 22 1 2.41 .900
OHL totals 75 46 18 4 4372 221 3 3.03
AHL totals 137 60 51 14 7594 443 4 3.50
NHL totals 537 186 239 62 29,486 1497 26 3.05 .895

Playoffs[edit]

Season Team League GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1985–86 Peterborough Petes OHL 3 2 0 133 6 0 2.70
1986–87 Peterborough Petes OHL 6 3 3 374 21 1 3.36
1987–88 Fredericton Express AHL 4 1 2 204 11 0 3.23
1991–92 Edmonton Oilers NHL 2 0 0 60 3 0 3.00 .919
1993–94 Montreal Canadiens NHL 1 0 1 59 5 0 5.08 .833
1995–96 Portland Pirates AHL 13 7 6 782 36 1 2.76
1996–97 Ottawa Senators NHL 7 3 4 425 14 1 1.97 .923
1997–98 Ottawa Senators NHL 2 0 1 74 6 0 4.86 .806
1998–99 Ottawa Senators NHL 2 0 2 118 6 0 3.05 .872
1999–2000 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 11 6 5 746 22 2 1.76 .945
OHL totals 9 5 3 507 27 1 3.19
AHL totals 17 8 8 986 47 1 2.86
NHL totals 25 9 13 1482 56 3 2.26 .923

Honours and records[edit]

  • Modern day record holder for most saves in a regular season game non-loss (stopped 70 of 73 shots in a 3-3 tie with the Boston Bruins; March 21, 1991).
  • 10th all time for lowest goals-against average during the regular season.
  • Holds Mighty Ducks of Anaheim record for most saves in a regular season game with 46, set against the Edmonton Oilers on November 21, 1993).
  • Named to the NHL first All-star Team in 1998–99.
  • Tied with Dominik Hašek for Ottawa Senators highest regular season save percentage.
  • Leader in save percentage for the 1999–2000 Playoffs.
  • Holds Pittsburgh Penguins record for highest save percentage in the playoffs.
  • Record holder for most wins in the regular season on an expansion team with 22, set while with the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2000–01 season.
  • Has Division named in his honour in the FCHL.

International play[edit]

After a disappointing 4 game sweep in the NHL playoffs, Tugnutt was more than excited to play for Team Canada in the World Hockey Championship. The semi-final game was against the Czech Republic in which Canada lost after the game went undecided in overtime, ending in a shootout. This was Tugnutt's second appearance on Team Canada. He played for them in 1993 as well.[15]

International statistics[edit]

Year Team Event GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1993 CAN WC 4 125 6 2.87
1998 CAN WC 7 4 3 0 328 11 0 2.01 .915
World Championship totals 11 4 3 0 453 17 0 2.25

Awards[edit]

Preceded by
Scott Mosey and Marty Abrams
Winner of the Dave Pinkney Trophy
1986
Succeeded by
Jeff Hackett and Sean Evoy
Preceded by
Gerry Iuliano
Winner of the F. W. "Dinty" Moore Trophy
1985
Succeeded by
Paul Henriques

Trade history[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]