Moving quickly to replace goaltender Curtis Joseph, who will sign a three-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings today, the Toronto Maple Leafs signed netminder Ed “The Eagle” Belfour to a two-year contract. The signing will be announced at a 2:00 PM press conference.
The Maple Leafs will be Belfour’s fourth NHL team. He broke into the league with the Chicago Blackhawks but was traded to the San Jose Sharks amid controversy. Belfour then signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars, leading them to a Stanley Cup Championship in 1999.
Dallas announced shortly after their season ended without making the playoffs that they would not resign Belfour. Then later traded his rights to the Nashville Predators in return for a draft pick.
Belfour has been one of the game’s top goaltenders but is coming off a season that saw him go 21-27-11 with a .895 save percentage, his worst in ten years.
This is the second time this year that Belfour has taken over for Joseph. After Joseph lost the position as starting goaltender for Team Canada in the Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City, Belfour replaced him as the backup, leaving Joseph as the third-string goalie.
Belfour comes to Toronto with baggage. In a 2001 incident, Belfour spit and kicked at officers, who used pepper spray to subdue him. While being taken to jail, he offered $100,000 for officers to let him go, then offered $1 billion.