This is the beginning of a multiple-part series looking at former Penguin stars, mainly from the past 20 years. I will discuss a brief personal history of these players, and then see what they have been up to since we last saw them in a Penguins uniform. Some are known for their numbers, and some for their personalities. The players are in no particular order, and do not contain any current NHL players. Feel free to comment on any of your particular favorites, or non-favorites, and mention any players you would like to read about in the future.
#24 Ian Moran: 1995-2003
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Ian Moran was one of the most memorable Penguins of the 1990’s. He spent two years at Boston College before leaving for the NHL.
Ian Moran started his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins when he was drafted in the 6th round (107th overall) in the 1990 NHL Draft. In 433 career regular season games with the Pens, Moran tallied 19 goals, 44 assists, and 281 penalty minutes in 433 games. On March 11, 2003, Moran was traded to the Boston Bruins for fourth round selection in 2003, which turned out to be Paul Bissonnette. Moran finished his career with stops in Sweden and England and was sidelined most of the year with a knee injury, before eventually signing with the Anaheim Ducks on August 15, 2006. After a short stint in Germany, Moran signed as an UFA with the New Jersey Devils on July 24, 2007. Moran played for the Devils’ minor league affiliate Lowell Devils and suffered another knee injury, and was never called-up to play at the NHL level again. By season’s end, Moran became a free agent on July 1, 2008. Moran has a tie with current Penguins defensemen Hal Gill. Moran and Gill are great friends both having grown up in Acton, Mass., and Gill is the godfather to Moran’s fourth child, Leighton. Moran is unofficially retired from hockey, and has done some radio and media work. He is currently 36 years old.
#93 Petr Nedved: 1995-1997
A Czech Republic native, Petr Nedved left as a refugee for Canada at the age of 17. In 1990 Nedved was drafted 2nd overall in the NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. On August 31, 1995, Nedved was traded alongside Sergei Zubov from the NY Rangers to the Penguins in exchange for Ulf Samuelsson and Luc Robitaille. In 154 career regular season games with the Pens, Nedved racked up 78 goals, 92 assists, along with 23 points in 23 playoff games. He was traded back to the Rangers with Sean Pronger and Chris Tamer in exchange for Alexei Kovalev and Harry York in November of 1998. Nedved continued his career after New York with stops in Edmonton, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and the Czech Republic, where he currently still plays.
Last fall, Nedved attempted a comeback to the NHL while trying out with the New York Rangers. Nedved played in three preseason games for the Rangers and finished with three points, but that was not enough. He was released from his tryout, and stated that he would not attempt another comeback for the NHL.
Nedved currently plays for Liberec Bili Tygri in the Czech Republic, where he is fourth on the team in points with 13 goals and 12 assists through 29 games. Nedved is currently 37 years old.
#36 Matthew Barnaby: 1998-2001
Matthew Barnaby was another unforgettable face for the Pittsburgh Penguins. A hard-nose grinder, Barnaby was a player you hated to play against, but loved to have on your team. Barnaby was drafted in the 4th round (83rd overall) in the 1992 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. In March of 1999, Barnaby was traded to Pittsburgh in exchange for Stu Barnes. In 129 career regular season games with the Pens, Barnaby had 15 goals, 18 assists, and a remarkable 399 penalty minutes. After being traded to Tampa Bay for Wayne Premieau, Barnaby finished his career with stints in New York (R), Colorado, Chicago, and Dallas. In July 2007, Barnaby announced his retirement from the game of hockey after suffering a concussion in January of that year. Barnaby knew he could not stay away from hockey for long. He tried out for an analyst position for Buffalo Sabres only two months later. He did not get the job, but made appearances on TSN during the 2007-08 season. Barnaby currently works as a hockey analyst for ESPN, replacing Barry Melrose after he left to coach the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, Melrose was fired in mid-November and returned alongside Barnaby on ESPN on January 1, 2009. Barnaby lives in Buffalo, NY in the off-season, and is currently 35 years old.
#14 Stu Barnes: 1996-1999
Though Stu Barnes’ stay in Pittsburgh was short, he still managed to make an impact. The 5 foot 11 inch center man was drafted fourth overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1989 NHL Draft. In November of 1996, the Penguins traded Chris Wells to the Florida Panthers for Barnes and Jason Woolley. In 204 career regular season games with the Pens, Barnes tallied 67 goals and 69 assists. As mentioned previously, Barnes was traded to Buffalo for Matthew Barnaby in 1999. Barnes finished his career with five years in Buffalo and just over four years in Dallas. Just before the start of the season on August 28, 2008, Barnes announced his retirement from hockey. That same day, Barnes signed a two-year contract to become an assist coach for the Dallas Stars. Barnes is also part-owner, with Olaf Kolzig, of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. The team is based in Washington state, where Barnes and his family spend their time in the off-season. Barnes is currently 38 years old.
#35 Tom Barrasso: 1988-2000
Tom Barrasso was without a doubt, one of the greatest players to put on a Penguins uniform, and one of the greatest American-born players of all-time. Barrasso was drafted out of high school by the Buffalo Sabres with the 5th overall pick in the 1983 NHL Draft. Barrasso was acquired by the Penguins in 1988 along with Buffalo’s 3rd round pick in 1990, Joe Dziedzic, for Doug Bodger and Darrin Shannon. In his 12 seasons with the Pens, Barrasso went 226-153-53 in 460 games, with 24 shutouts, a 3.27 GAA, 31 assists, and 251 penalty minutes. But Barrasso is best know for bringing two Stanley Cups to the Steel City. In 101 career playoff games with the Pens, ‘Tommy B’ went 56-42, with a 2.91 GAA and 5 shutouts. In March of 2000, Barrasso was traded to Ottawa for Ron Tugnutt and Janne Laukkanen. He spent the 2000-01 season out of hockey, and returned with the Carolina Hurricanes for the 2001-02 season. He finished his career with short stops in Toronto and St. Louis, and on June 18, 2003, signed a one-day contract with the Penguins so he could retire as a Penguin. In September of 2007, Barrasso signed a contract to become the goaltender coach for the Carolina Hurricanes. Barrasso accumulated a number of awards during his career, and still holds the records for: most NHL assists by a goaltender- 48, most NHL points by a goaltender- 48, most consecutive NHL playoff wins- 14, tied for most consecutive playoff wins in one NHL playoff- 11, tied for most wins in one playoff season- 16. Tom Barrasso will always be known for his excellent goaltending in bringing two Stanley Cups to Pittsburgh. Barrasso is currently 43 years old.
Check back throughout the year for a look at more favorite Penguin stars of the past. Once again, feel free to leave comments about any memories or thoughts you have on the players mentioned in this post, or let us know who you would like to hear about in an upcoming part to this series.
Dan | PPT