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Jun 30, 2020
9:57:07pm
In honor of free agency (would start July 1 if not for Covid) here’s Ed Belfour
Arguably the best free agency signing of any goaltender.

After killing it in Chicago his first five years (won Rookie of the Year and two Vezinas, added two more top-5 Vezina finishes, and took the Blackhawks to their first Finals in nearly 20 years) the Eagle fell off a bit. In 1997 he was traded to San Jose (good call Chicago, getting rid of Hasek and Belfour to keep... Jeff Hackett?) and was terrible the remainder of the season. As a free agent he signed with Dallas. He went from a -5.5 goals saved above average in 96-97 to +13.2 in his first year with the Stars and led the NHL in goals-against-average, shaving an entire goal off the prior year’s mark (2.89 down to 1.88). Dallas won the President’s Trophy. The next season, he outdueled Patrick Roy in the Western Finals and Dominik Hasek in the Cup Finals as Dallas won it’s first Stanley Cup. He got Vezina votes in his first four seasons in Dallas.

AND even besides being maybe the best goalie FA signing in Dallas, he was a great free agent signing by Toronto a few years later. He had a horrific 2001-02 season before becoming a FA, and looked completely washed up, but when Toronto lost Curtis Joseph to Detroit in summer 2002 there weren’t a lot of goalies left on the market. They took Belfour who ended up having two very good years in Toronto before the lockout, nabbing another Vezina nomination. I particularly remember him dominating Ottawa one playoff series (but what Leaf didn’t in the early 2000s?)

He was also pretty wild and crazy, even for a goalie, which is saying something.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsneSksUz5M
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Martin Van Nostrand
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