|Tony Esposito learned to be a goaltender by stopping shots from his brother, Phil, in the family driveway. After playing at Michigan Tech, he turned professional in 1967 and joined the Montreal Canadiens for 13 games in the 1968/69 season.
The Canadiens left Esposito unprotected and the Chicago Black Hawks drafted him. He rewarded Chicago by winning the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie and the Vezina Trophy as its best goaltender in 1970. The following year, he missed the Vezina by just 7 goals.
In 1972, Esposito and Gary Smith shared goaltending duties and the Vezina Trophy with a combined 2.12 goals-against average; Esposito's was a sparkling 1.76 in 48 games. Esposito and Philadelphia's Bernie Parent tied for the 1974 Vezina.
One of the first "flopping" goaltenders, frequently sprawling on the ice to make saves, Esposito candidly admitted that he didn't like his job. He retired after the 1983/84 season with a record of 423 wins, 307 losses, and 151 ties. He gave up 2,563 goals in 886 games, a 2.92 average, and had 76 shutouts.
Esposito became general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1988. He left to take the same position with an expansion team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, in 1988.|