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‘Who Wore It Best?’: Blackhawks legend Tony Esposito named best No. 35 in NHL history

The Hall of Fame goaltender was an unanimous selection for the honor.

Chicago Blackhawks v New York Rangers Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Tony Esposito, the only player to wear No. 35 for the Blackhawks, is the best player to wear the number in NHL history, according to an NHL.com panel.

Esposito was an unanimous selection with all 19 first-place votes for 57 points. Mike Richter of the Rangers was in second with 28 points as he had 12 second-place votes and four third-place votes. First-place votes were worth three points, second-place votes worth two points and third-place votes worth one point.

“Tony Esposito was way ahead of his time, introducing the League to the now-popular butterfly style of goaltending,” NHL.com senior fantasy editor Pete Jensen said. “He’s universally regarded as one of the all-time greats at the position.”

Esposito wore Nos. 1 and 29 in 13 games with the Canadiens during the 1968-69 before Chicago selected him in the 1969 Intraleague Draft. He won the Calder Trophy as the League’s best rookie the following season, and the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie three times (1969-70, 71-72, 73-74). Chicago retired No. 35 on Nov. 20, 1998.

Esposito was 423-306-152 with a 2.93 goals-against average, .906 save percentage and 76 shutouts in 886 games with the Canadiens (1968-69) and Black Hawks (1969-84). He ranks eighth in NHL history in starts (874), ninth in games played, 10th in wins and is tied for 10th in shutouts (76). He holds several notable Blackhawks records, including wins (418), saves (24,376), shutouts (74) and goals saved above average (509).