In 1992 the Tampa Bay Lightning were preparing for their first NHL season and naturally were looking for a netminder with some amount of experience to place between the pipes. President and General Manager Phil Esposito looked to St. Louis in order to acquire the Lightning’s #1 Goaltender, Pat Jablonski.
Jablonski had spent the three previous seasons bouncing between the Blues and the Peoria Rivermen, where he spent most of his time. He started 22 games for the Blues as well as an additional three playoff games in their series against the Minnesota North Stars. Jablonski never really posted solid numbers (5W, 12L, .857SV%, 4.27GAA) but he was none the less selected by the Lightning to be their starting goaltender.
On October 11th, 1992 Pat Jablonski would play his first regular season game with Lightning against the Chicago Blackhawks where he went on to stop 40 of 44 shots walking away with a tie. Jablonski would play 42 more games that season but only 15 in the following year’s campaign, his last with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After finishing his last season with the Lightning he was dealt to Toronto and over the next seven years would also play with the Canadiens, Coyotes, and Hurricanes. The five games he played for the Hurricanes would be his last in the show. The following years he bounced around the IHL and after the 2000-01 season would retire, having spent the last two years of his playing career with Vastra Frolunda HC in Sweden.
He might not have become a storied goaltender but, as with most hockey players, he is an amazing individual.
– Jim Courteau
Follow me on Twitter @BlackSheepJim