Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Mark Fitzpatrick
Goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick was ticketed as the goalie of the future for the Los Angeles Kings when he arrived at their training camp in 1988. Fitzpatrick, who the Kings had selected in the second round of the 1987 Entry Draft, was coming off his second consecutive Memorial Cup Championship with the Medicince Hat Tigers that fall and Los Angeles was in need of a solid netminder.

The Kings were set to go with Glenn Healy and veteran Rollie Melanson, but soon Fitzpatrick worked his way into their line up. The young rookie made 17 appearances for the Kings and posted six wins and three ties but the Los Angeles brass had a surprise in store. Fitzpatrick's rookie season happened to coincide with the beginning of the Gretzky era in L.A., and that meant the Kings had an accelerated improvement schedule and that include acquiring a bonafide number one netminder that was ready to lead them right away.

The Kings dealt Fitzpatrick, defenseman Wayne McBean and future considerations to the New York Islanders in exchange for goalie Kelly Hrudey. Fitzpatrick finished out his first NHL season on Long Island then spent his first full season with them as their starter the following year. However, shortly before the beginning of the 1990-91 season Fitzpatrick was spelled by a mysterious illness.

Fitzpatrick was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Myalgia Syndrome, a rare illness brought on after a reaction to L-Trytophan, an ingredient in a vitamin supplement. It caused severe muscle cramps, chronic fatigue and joint pain, among other problems.

Despite his sickness, he was able to play two games with the Islanders that campaign, which earned him the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies persistence, perseverance and dedication to the game.

The next two years were spent working his way back to the form he displayed before the illness, but he couldn't wrestle the starting job back from former L.A. teammate Glenn Healy.

In the summer of 1993 Fitzpatrick was traded to the Quebec Nordiques for Ron Hextall and an exchange of first round draft picks. He wasn't Quebec property for long, however. The Florida Panthers selected him four days later in the Expansion Draft.

With the Panthers Fitzpatrick teamed with John Vanbiesbrouck to form one of the league's top goaltending tandems. Over the next four years Fitzpatrick enjoyed a solid run, and good health, while he backed up Vanbiesbrouck. This stretch included the Panthers improable run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1996, though it was Vanbiesbrouck who handled the goaltending duties.

In 1997-98 the Panthers finally cashed in the asset they had in Fitzpatrick and traded him to their cross state rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The deal saw Fitzpatrick and checking winger Jody Hull head to Tampa while veteran scorer Dino Ciccarelli and defenseman Jeff Norton packed their gear for Miami.

With the Lightning Fitzpatrick handled the starting duties for the first time since he was diagnosed with EMS and he acquitted himself well with the lowly Tampa Bay club. In a team-leading 34 games Fitzpatrick managed to post a .895 save percentage and a shutout. In the off-season the Lightning traded Fitzpatrick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Michal Sykora.

In the Windy City Fitzpatrick posted the best numbers of his career while backing up Jocelyn Thibault. With a 2.74 goals against average and a team-best .906 save percentage Fitzpatrick looked destined to get another shot as a starter somewhere. However, things unfolded differently for the goaltender.

When the Carolina Hurricanes lost netminder Trevor Kidd in the Expansion Draft they need somebody to back up Arturs Irbe, and General Manager Jim Rutherford thought he found that man when he signed Fitzpatrick in the off-season. However, in training camp, things didn't pan out as expected. Eric Fichaud, another netminder brought into the Carolina fold in the off-season won the back up job and Fitzpatrick started the season in the minors with the Cincinnati Cyclones. Irbe meanwhile made 75 appearances for the Hurricanes leaving very little work for the back up and Fitzpartrick's return to the NHL took much longer then expected.

When he finally was called up in February he only managed to make three appearances and couldn't record a victory in any of them.

The 2000-01 campaign was spent entirely in the minors, but Fitzpatrick took one more crack at an NHL return in the fall of 2001. The Vancouver Canucks were in need of a back up netminder and invited the veteran goaltender to their camp. Though he played well in pre-season, the Canucks acquired another goaltender in the waiver draft on the eve of the season and Fitzpatrick became Vancouver's final cut. It proved to be the final training camp of his career.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP W L T SO Avg GP W L T SO Avg
1983-84 Revelstoke Rangers BCJHL 21 0 5.30
1984-85 Calgary Canucks AJHL 29 18 8 0 2 3.75
1984-85 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 3 1 2 0 0 3.00 1 0 0 0 0 6.00
1985-86 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 41 26 6 1 1 2.86 19 11 5 0 3.53
1986-87 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 50 31 11 4 4 3.35 20 12 8 1 3.48
1986-87 Medicine Hat Tigers M-Cup 5 4 1 0 1 2.00
1987-88 Medicine Hat Tigers WHL 63 36 15 6 2 3.23 16 12 4 1 3.25
1987-88 Medicine Hat Tigers M-Cup 5 4 1 0 0 3.64
1988-89 Los Angeles Kings NHL 17 6 7 3 0 4.01
1988-89 New Haven Nighthawks AHL 18 10 5 1 1 3.31
1988-89 New York Islanders NHL 11 3 5 2 0 3.92
1989-90 New York Islanders NHL 47 19 19 5 3 3.39 4 0 2 0 5.13
1990-91 New York Islanders NHL 2 1 1 0 0 3.00
1990-91 Capital District Islanders AHL 12 3 7 2 0 3.84
1991-92 New York Islanders NHL 30 11 13 5 0 3.20
1991-92 Capital District Islanders AHL 14 6 5 1 0 2.99
1992-93 New York Islanders NHL 39 17 15 5 0 3.46 3 0 1 0 3.12
1992-93 Capital District Islanders AHL 5 1 3 1 0 3.80
1993-94 Florida Panthers NHL 28 12 8 6 1 2.73
1994-95 Florida Panthers NHL 15 6 7 2 2 2.64
1995-96 Florida Panthers NHL 34 15 11 3 0 2.96 2 0 0 0 6.00
1996-97 Florida Panthers NHL 30 8 9 9 0 2.36
1997-98 Florida Panthers NHL 12 2 7 2 1 3.00
1997-98 Fort Wayne Komets IHL 2 1 1 0 0 4.03
1997-98 Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 34 7 24 1 1 3.16
1998-99 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 27 6 8 6 0 2.74
1999-00 Carolina Hurricanes NHL 3 0 2 0 0 4.49
1999-00 Cincinnati Cyclones IHL 24 11 11 1 4 2.57
2000-01 Detroit Vipers IHL 9 4 4 0 0 2.60
NHL Totals 329 113 136 49 8 3.11 9 0 3 0 4.77


WHL East Second All-Star Team (1986, 1988)
WHL Goaltender of the Year (1986)
Memorial Cup All-Star Team (1987, 1988)
Hap Emms Memorial Trophy (Memorial Cup Top Goaltender) (1987, 1988)
Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (1992)
Traded to NY Islanders by Los Angeles with Wayne McBean and future considerations (Doug Crossman, May 23, 1989) for Kelly Hrudey, February 22, 1989. Traded to Quebec by NY Islanders with NY Islanders' 1st round pick (Adam Deadmarsh) in 1993 NHL Draft for Ron Hextall and Quebec's 1st round pick (Todd Bertuzzi) in 1993 NHL Draft, June 20, 1993. Claimed by Florida from Quebec in Expansion Draft, June 24, 1993. Traded to Tampa Bay by Florida with Jody Hull for Dino Ciccarelli and Jeff Norton, January 15, 1998. Traded to Chicago by Tampa Bay with Tampa Bay's 4th round pick (later traded to Montreal - Montreal selected Chris Dyment) in 1999 NHL Draft for Michal Sykora, July 17, 1998. Signed as a free agent by Carolina, August 19, 1999.
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