Born in Scarborough, Ontario, Ron Tugnutt played junior with the OHL's Peterborough Petes. He was selected 81st overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1986 and was a solid backup for the club during his first three pro seasons. He was the first stringer in the early '90s when the club declined and was often one of the few bright lights on the team.
In March 1992 he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers where he was a solid back up to Bill Ranford. Tugnutt also played four games for Canada at the 1993 World Championships. A few weeks later he was claimed by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the Expansion Draft. The steady netminder played well in 28 games before he was acquired by the Montreal Canadiens to provide insurance behind Patrick Roy.
After spending the entire 1995-96 season with the AHL's Portland Pirates, Tugnutt returned to the NHL with the Ottawa Senators. Playing the best hockey of his career, he and partner Damian Rhodes backstopped the club to the playoffs in 1997 and 1998. The next year he led the NHL with a 1.79 goals against average and took part in his first All-Star Game. The next year, he was sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins in return for Tom Barrasso and played 53 games for the expansion Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000-01. Tugnutt recorded four shutouts and 22 wins while playing a key role in the team's solid 71-point debut. The Scarborough native played two seasons with the Blue Jackets before being acquired by the Dallas Stars prior to the 2002-03 season.
Upon his arrival with the Stars, Tugnutt was used primarly as the backup goaltender and would also see some game action with the AHL's Utah Grizzlies. Following the lockout Tugnutt remained a unrestricted free agent and has since joined CBC as a colour commentator for Hockey Night in Canada.