THIS DATE IN HISTORY: July 2
It's a day to remember for Hall of Fame goalie Ed Belfour.
1997: The Dallas Stars, coming off a division title, sign Belfour, a free agent. He makes an immediate impact, going 37-12-10 with a 1.88 goals-against average in his first season in Dallas and helping the Stars win the Presidents' Trophy and reach the Western Conference Final. He's even better in his second season; the Stars repeat as Presidents' Trophy winners and go on to win the franchise's first Stanley Cup championship .
2002: Exactly five years after signing with Dallas, Belfour joins the Toronto Maple Leafs, again as a free agent. He plays three seasons with Toronto, where he earns his 400th NHL victory and later gets his 448th win to move into second place behind Patrick Roy on the NHL's all-time list. Belfour ties a Stanley Cup Playoff record in 2004 when he has three shutouts in one playoff series and finishes 93-61-4 with 11 ties for Toronto.
1979: Joe Thornton is born in London, Ontario. He becomes the first player taken (by the Boston Bruins) in the 1997 NHL Draft but blossoms after being traded to the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 30, 2005. Thornton finishes the 2005-06 season with a League-leading 125 points (29 goals, 96 assists), making him the first player to win the NHL scoring title playing for two teams. His 1,478 regular-season points (413 goals, 1,065 assists) through 2018-19 are 14th all-time. He helps the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in their 25-year history in 2016, though they lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
Thornton celebrates his 39th birthday in 2018 by signing a one-year contract; he surpasses the 400-goal and 1,500-game milestones during the 2018-19 season.
2011: The New York Rangers sign center Brad Richards to a nine-year contract. Richards, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, plays three seasons with the Rangers, scoring 56 goals and finishing with 151 points.
2017: Goalie Carey Price signs an eight-year contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens. "I never thought about playing anywhere else," Price says. "It's a great place for me. I have enough experience to deal with anything that being a goaltender for the Canadiens can throw at me. I never thought about putting on another uniform. I just thought it'd be too weird, I guess." The contract runs through 2025-26, when Price will be 38.
On the same day, forward Patrick Marleau ends his 19-season stay with the San Jose Sharks when he signs a three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The No. 2 pick in the 1997 NHL Draft leaves San Jose as the Sharks' all-time leader in games played (1,493), goals (508) and points (1,082)