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Bob Essensa
Bob Essensa
Goaltender
Number: 31
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 188
Catches: Left
Born: Jan 14, 1965
Birthplace: Toronto, ON, Canada
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Acquired: Traded to Detroit by Winnipeg with Sergei Bautin for Tim Cheveldae and Dallas Drake on March 8, 1994.
Drafted: WIN / 1983 NHL Entry Draft
Round: 4th (69th overall)
Robert Earle (Bob) Essensa was drafted 69th overall in the 1983 entry draft by the Winnipeg Jets.

After playing junior at Henry Carr, he enrolled at Michigan State University in 1983 and went 11-4-0 in 17 games as a CCHA freshman. The following year, he went 15-2-0 and was named a CCHA First Team All-Star. The junior season produced a result of 17-4-1 and a CCHA Second Team All-Star selection. In his senior year, Essensa went 19-3-1 for a four-year combined total of 62-13-2.

Essensa was 23 when he made his NHL debut in 1988-89 and went 6-8-3 in 20 games. In 1989-90, that record improved 18-9-5 with a 3.15 goals-against average, while being named the NHL All-Rookie goaltender. In 1990-91, Essensa posted four shutouts and won the Jets' Molson Cup award, given to the player with the most points accumulated through three-star selections at the conclusion of each game.

In 1991-92, Essensa registered a league best five shutouts and was the second runner up for the Vezina and Jennings trophies. After posting a career-high 33 games in 1992-93, Essensa was traded to the Detroit the Red Wings for Tim Cheveldae and Dallas Drake. But, he never got the playing time he had hoped for in the Motor City and played most of those two seasons in the minors.

In 1999-2000, Essensa rejoined the Phoenix Coyotes, the old Winnipeg Jets team, and posted a 13-10-3 record. On July 26, 2000, Essensa signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks and split goaltending duties first with Felix Potvin and then Dan Cloutier. He went 18-12 with a 2.68 GAA and helped the Canucks make the playoffs for the first time in five years. In the playoffs, he started two of the Canucks four games.

In September 2001, Essensa signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Sabres where he will serve as backup to Martin Biron. In some circles he has been called the ultimate fill-in goaltender, never complaining about his role as second fiddle. Although he would like the chance at getting another starting role, at close to 37, he's content with where he is in Buffalo.

Courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame

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