HHOF Profile: Ed Belfour

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Goalies are a unique brand of hockey player as they can be completely out of the play one second and the next be the focus of the play. It takes a special type of person to have frozen rubber pucks shot at him at speeds of close to 100 mph 20-30 times a game and not jump out-of-the-way but instead get into their path. The goalie is one of the most important aspects to a team that wants to be successful as they form the last line of defence and can single-handedly change the course of a game. There are only so many goalies that have made this type of impact and another one of them will enter the Hall of Fame this year. Ed Belfour will take his spot in the NHL after a career that saw Eddie The Eagle go through twists and turns but always saw him as one of the best goalies in the NHL. The development of a goalie is generally slow with many goalies taking a long time in the minor leagues before they can make an impact in the NHL. It is a rare find for a player never to be drafted but play to the level of a Hall of Famer but that is exactly what Belfour did. Growing up in Manitoba Belfour was never considered a top prospect in goal and as a result of this he played as an overage player. At age 21 Belfour was playing Tier two hockey for the Winkler Flyers and got a scholarship to play at University of North Dakota where he caught little attention from the NHL. After the 1987 draft Belfour remained at North Dakota until the season was about to start and then in September 1987 Belfour got his contract as he was signed as an undrafted free agent. Belfour was signed by the Blackhawks and spent some time going in between both the NHL and AHL. Belfour made a long path and was never highly touted goalie and throughout his career was a bit of an afterthought. This was the case as Belfour played among the same time as Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur who were and still are considered the best goalies of their time. Belfour remained a bit of an afterthought with a number of other goalies in the league as a well and could be a bit of a surprise to some for making it into the Hall of Fame. Belfour deserves his time in the Hall though as he was regularly one of the best goalies in the league and continued to carry his teams into the playoffs all the while marching up the record charts to take his place among some of the best goalies to ever play in the NHL. Ever the underdog Belfour quietly became one of the best goalies in the NHL and will take his rightful place among the many names in the Hall of Fame.

Ed Belfour was known as Eddie the Eagle thanks to his infamous helmet art that always featured an eagle no matter what team he was on. The eagle is a favorite of Americans as it is their official national bird but Belfour represented the country to the North adding to the history of great Canadian goaltenders. He did not start out adding to this great tradition as his first year saw him appear in 23 games with the Chicago Blackhawks to earn a record of 4-12-3. As Belfour struggled in the NHL he suited up for the Canadian National Team in from 1989 to 1990. While with the Canadians Belfour began showing the flashes of greatness that got the attention of the Blackhawks scouts as he went 13-12-6 with a 3.09 GAA. Coming back to the NHL in the 1990-91 season Belfour began showing just how good he was as he suited up for 74 games and went 43-19-7 with 4 shutouts and a 2.47 GAA. This great performance earned Belfour the Calder Trophy as well as the first of his 5 William M. Jennings Trophies and the first of his two Vezina Trophies. From this point on Belfour became the Blackhawks solid backstop never having a GAA above 3.00 for the next six seasons with his best season coming in 1994-95 when he earned a 2.28 GAA. There were problems though as Belfour continually clashed with head coach Mike Keenan as Belfour became known for his fiery personality and his anger towards Keenan pulling him regularly. It seemed to come to a head in 1997 when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks amidst contract talks that were going nowhere. After his brief stint with the Sharks Belfour signed a contract with the Dallas Stars where he continues his streak of great goals against averages earning a 1.88 GAA in 1997-98 and a 1.99 GAA in the 1998-99 season when he played 61 games in both. In the 1998-99 season Belfour finished with his 1.99 GAA and brought the Stars to the playoffs where he led them to the franchises first Stanley Cup win with three shutouts and a 1.67 GAA. It seemed like Belfour was never really the same after this as he continued to be solid but not as dominant as he used to be. After a 2001-02 season, that saw him go 21-27-11 with only 1 shutout Belfour became the main symbol of a reworking of the Dallas franchise. The Stars let him go and he signed a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs as he returned to play in his home country for the first time. As a Leaf Belfour continued his strong play until the 2005-06 season when Belfour would have the first 3.00 plus GAA season since his 13 games in San Jose along with this the Leafs missed the playoffs for the first time in 7 years. After that season Belfour was let go by the Leafs and signed with the Florida Panthers where he finished his NHL career still managing to have a great season. Belfour finished his playing career in 2007-08 when he played one season with Leksands-IF in the Sweden Tier 2 league. Belfour was one of the most stable goalies in the league only having a 3.00 plus GAA season three times and only playing more than 25 games in two of those seasons. Belfour finished his career with some of the best stats in the NHL as he is currently has the third most wins (484) in the NHL only behind Martin Brodeur (627), and Patrick Roy (551). Belfour may not be considered the best goalie in NHL history but his strong performance every year he played as the starter is enough to put him among the best that have ever mined the net.

 

Ed Belfour, G (1989-2008)

6’0” 215 lbs

Chicago Blackhawks (8 years)

484-320-125 Career Record

963 GP

76 SO

2.49 GAA

.906 SV%

– Stanley Cup Champion (1999)

– 5 All-Star Appearances (1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999)

– Calder Memorial Trophy (1991)

– William M. Jennings Trophy (1991, 1993, 1995, 1999)

– Vezina Trophy (1991, 1993)

– Also Played for S.J. Sharks (’96-‘97), Dal. Stars (’97-’02), Tor. Maple Leafs (’02-‘04/’05-’06), Fla. Panthers (’06-’07)

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  1. […] three Stanley Cups with three different Teams. Another former Leaf entered the hall as well when Ed Belfour was inducted as the goalie with the third most wins in NHL history. The hometown favorite got the […]



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