I thought it would be interesting to look back at the Hartford Whalers net-minders through the years. I'm going to break this out into two posts, and talk briefly about every player who appeared in goal for the team, broken down by season. The second post will focus on 1979-80 - 1989-90, but for now lets look at the goaltenders of the 90s:
The Whalers limped into the playoffs with the worst record of any Prince of Wales Conference team that qualified. Four different goalies would suit up for Hartford:
Peter Sidorkiewicz was at the helm for the 1990-91 season. 52 games played, 21 wins, played every minute of the team's loss to the Bruins in 6 games in the first round of the playoffs.
Daryl Reaugh played the only 20 games of his Whaler career during the 1990-91 season. Thanks for the memories Daryl...
Kay was starting to get some increased attention in 90-91, logging time in 18 games. Some fans predicted he'd be the franchise's next long-time goaltender following the departure of Mike Liut.
Ross McKay made one appearance in 1990-91, logging the only 35 minutes of his NHL career. I'm 99% certain he doesn't have a card, so he will be dubbed the aptly named Sir Not Appearing in this Post.
Hartford again snuck into the post-season, with the worst record of any of the teams that made it. Three goalies played for the Whalers this year:
1991-92 was Kay's lone season atop the Whalers goaltending depth chart. It didn't go so well, and by the time the playoffs rolled around he had lost his starting job.
Sidorkiewicz appeared 30 times in his final season with Hartford, winning just 9 games. He was claimed by the Ottawa Senators in the expansion draft following the season.
The Whalers traded with Pittsburgh for Frank Pietrangelo towards the end of the season. He was great to close out the regular season, going 3-1-1 in 5 appearances with a 2.35 GAA. Hartford faced off against Montreal in the first round of the playoffs though, and was eliminated in 7 games. Frank played basically the entire series. It was the last time the franchise would ever make the post-season.
Whalers fans still had a bad taste in their mouths after the first round playoff loss to the Canadiens. There was reason for optimism entering the 1992-93 season though, with a fresh face on the roster.
Just before the 1992-93 season, the Whalers acquired goaltender Sean Burke (along with defenseman Eric Weinrich) from New Jersey, in exchange for Bobby Holik and a 2nd round draft pick (which ended up being Jay Pandolfo). He took on the bulk of the load right away, appearing in 50 games in his first season with the team. Unfortunately he posted a 4.16 GAA (the worst of his very long career). His record...16-27-3.
On the heels of the playoff elimination to the Canadiens the year prior, Pietrangelo turned in a pretty awful season in support of Sean Burke. In 30 games his record was just 4-15-1, and his GAA was 4.85 (the worst of his career).
After playing the 1989-90 season with the Los Angeles Kings, Gosselin played the 1990-91 season in the IHL. The Whalers signed him to a contract in September of 1991, and he played the 1991-92 season with their AHL affiliate, the Springfield Indians. He finally made it back to the NHL in 1992-93 with the Whalers, going 5-9-1 in 16 games.
Mike Lenarduzzi was a 3rd round draft pick by the Whalers in the 1990 draft. He played in 3 games for Hartford in 1992-93, but I don't have any of his few cards.
I don't think a hockey card exists out there for Corrie D'Alessio. He came to the Whalers from Vancouver in a trade that sent Kay Whitmore West. Corrie's one appearance during the 1992-93 season (for just 11 minutes) was all he'd end up with for his career. He stopped all 3 shots he faced, so his career save percentage is 1.000 and his career GAA is 0.00. Would be a cool custom card to make if you could ever find a photo...
Only the Senators were worse in the Northeast Division. The Whalers missed a playoff spot by a staggering 21 points. U-G-L-Y.
In Burke's second season in Hartford, he was certainly more effective than his first, as his save percentage rose from .876 to .906, and his GAA dropped from 4.16 to 2.99. The team around him still sucked though, so his record ended up being 17-24-5. Ouch.
Acquired in an early season trade with Calgary, Jeff Reese quickly became the number 2 goalie in 1993-94. In 19 appearances, he was 5-9-3 with 1 shutout and a .893 save percentage. At least they didn't give up much in the trade...
Pietrangelo was the third guy in line in 93-94. He saw action in 19 games, going 5-11-1. He would never stop the rubber in an NHL game again.
Mario Gosselin again played in net for Hartford, participating in the final 7 games of his NHL career with the Whalers in 1993-94. He suffered a career-ending knee injury during the season, and went 0-4 with a 5.27 GAA...
Mike Lenarduzzi, who had appeared 3 times the season prior, played in a single game for Hartford in 1993-94, the 4th and final game of his NHL career. Yup, the 3, 4, and 5 goaltenders for the Whalers all saw their careers come to an end following the season 93-94 season. Geeze...
Even a shortened season couldn't help the Whalers, who finished 19-24-5. Once again, the team missed the playoffs...
In a 48-game 1994-95 season, Sean Burke was again top choice in net. He appeared in 42 of 48 games, with a 17-19-4 record.
Jeff Reese was back for another year, appearing in 11 games as option B.
The Whale ended up 4th in the Northeast Division, at 34-39-9, missing the playoffs by 11 points, a wide margin.
For the fourth straight year, Burke was the main man in net for Hartford. In 1995-96 he set a career high with 66 appearances. His 28-28-6 record set the mark for most wins and most losses in his 5 years with Hartford. He would acquire 4 of his 28 wins by way of the shutout.
In his first season with the Whalers, Jason Muzzatti served as backup goaltender to starter Sean Burke. In 22 games he went just 4-8-3, allowing 49 goals.
Jeff Reese got into 7 games in 1995-96. He did post a .918 save percentage and register 1 shutout. This would be his final year with the team.
The team's final season in Hartford. They would go a disappointing 32-39-11, finishing 5th in the Northeast Division. The Whalers ultimately missed the playoffs, but not by much. The 4th place Canadiens, who finished 2 points ahead of Hartford in the standings, made the cut.
Sean Burke was the main man between the pipes for the final season of Hartford Whalers hockey. Appearing in 51 games, Burke went 22-22-6. For the second straight year, he ended up with 4 shutouts. His .500 record was more a reflection of a poor Whalers team than anything, as Sean had an impressive 2.69 GAA on the season. He also ended up with a .914 save percentage, the best percentage of any of his 5 seasons in a Hartford sweater.
Jason Muzzatti was Burke's primary backup for a second (and final) season. He saw action in 31 games, a career high. He posted a 9-13-5 record, 3.43 GAA and .888 save percentage.
Finally, Jean-Sebastien Giguere saw action in 8 games with Hartford during the 1996-97 season. These were the first appearances of his NHL career. He went 1-4 with a 3.65 GAA and .881 save percentage. Who knew at the time that he'd still be at it over 15 years later.
That would be the complete list of Whalers goalies of the 1990's. Not the most impressive bunch, I know. I would have to say that Sean Burke is the goaltender of the decade for the team, which is pretty sad considering he had a sub-.500 record with the team and never led them to the playoffs even once.
In the next post we'll look at the goaltenders from 1979-80 through 1989-90...
10 Posts, 10 Cards, 10 Books, 10 Songs (#3) - My wife has been out of town most of the week so it was the perfect time for a crack party. Now hold on. It wasn't what you just thought. You see I've ha...