(June 30, 2004) -- John Ferguson, general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, announced Wednesday that the team has come to terms with goaltender Ed Belfour. In keeping with club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
| Leafs Nation will be glad to have the Eagle back.
(Graig Abel Photography)
Belfour, the NHL's all-time active leader in wins (435) and shutouts (75-tie), led the Maple Leafs to the team's best regular season in franchise history in 2003-04, personally recording 34 wins 19 losses and six ties. He ranked second in the NHL in shutouts with 10, becoming the first Maple Leaf goalie to reach double digits in that category since Harry Lumley posted 13 in 1953-54. Belfour was also among league goaltending leaders finishing third in wins, 10th in save percentage (.918-tie), and 12th in goals against average (2.13).
In the post-season, the native of Carman, Manitoba led the Maple Leafs to a first-round series victory over the Ottawa Senators posting three consecutive shutout wins and becoming just the 11th goaltender in Stanley Cup playoff history to record three shutouts in one playoff series.
Belfour, 39, joined the Maple Leafs on July 3, 2002, signing as an unrestricted free agent. In his first season in Toronto, he set a franchise record for wins in one season with 37 and finished third in Vezina Trophy voting (goalkeeper adjudged to be the best at his position) and finished third in year-end all-star team voting. In just two seasons in Toronto, Belfour already ranks seventh in franchise history in shutouts (17-tie) and 10th in wins (71).
Belfour was originally signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks June 18, 1987. He went on to play parts of nine seasons in Chicago winning the Vezina Trophy twice (1991, 1993) and leading the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup Final in 1992. He was traded to the San Jose Sharks on January 25, 1997 in exchange for Chris Terreri, Ulf Dahlen and Michal Sykora and the following off-season signed as an unrestricted free-agent with the Dallas Stars.
In his first season in Dallas, Belfour led the NHL and posted a career-best 1.88 goals against average. The following season, he won his first Stanley Cup leading the Stars to a six-game series victory over the Buffalo Sabres and shared the Jennings Trophy (goaltenders of the team with the fewest goals against) with Roman Turek.
The 16-year pro begins the 2004-05 season with a career record of 435 wins, 281 losses and 111 ties with 75 shutouts and a 2.43 goals against average. He is third (tie) in NHL history in wins trailing only Patrick Roy (551) and Terry Sawchuck (447), eighth (tie) in shutouts and seventh in goaltender assists (31).
He has played in five all-star games (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999) and was selected to represent Toronto in 2003 but did not play due to injury. Belfour also won the Gold Medal as a member of Team Canada at the 2002 winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and has been named to Team Canada for the upcoming 2004 World Cup of Hockey to take place in September.