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Was Don Edwards the Worst Goalie in Maple Leafs’ History?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had some great and not-so-great goalies. What former Vezina winner was the worst goalie in franchise history?

In the long history of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team has had many goalies. However, not every goalie who wears the Blue & White – even if they were highly successful in other places – has played well in Toronto.

Perhaps Hall of Fame goalie Grant Fuhr is a perfect case. He had a stellar career with the Edmonton Oilers, but he only lasted a bit more than a season with the Maple Leafs.

Related: 5 Reasons Maple Leafs Should Hope Joe Woll Becomes Goalie 1B

Don Edwards Was Great with the Buffalo Sabres, but Really Bad with Toronto

One goalie who was a great goalie with another team (but not with the Maple Leafs) was Don Edwards. Edwards was impressive in his NHL career with the Buffalo Sabres and even won the Vezina Trophy for his solid play during the 1979-80 season. However, his game had faded considerably by the time he landed in Toronto.

Don Edwards, when he was with the Buffalo Sabres

Edwards spent six great seasons with the Sabres. In fact, he never had a losing season. However, after he was traded to the Calgary Flames he never had another winning season.

His win totals took a dive in his three years with the Flames. Although that lack of success should have raised concerns about his performance, it didn’t stop the Maple Leafs from taking a chance on him. They signed him for three seasons. Obviously, they hoped he could recapture the form he once had with the Sabres.

The Maple Leafs’ Gamble Didn’t Pay Off

The Maple Leafs’ gamble did not pay off. Edwards spent the 1985-86 season with Toronto, and it turned out to be disastrous. He played 38 games in total, but he struggled to a 12-23 record. His goals-against average (GAA) soared to some large numbers (at 4.78 goals-against). His save percentage (SV%) also dropped to a low of .860.

The 1985–86 Maple Leafs season was the fourth-worst in franchise history (a .356 winning percentage). Those numbers were bleak for the Maple Leafs, and it was clear that Edwards was not the answer to the team’s goaltending needs.

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The Maple Leafs Bought Out Edwards’ Contract

The Maple Leafs had little choice and bought out the last two years of Edwards’ contract. It was the end of his career, as he never played in the NHL again. Interestingly, he did win another championship.

During the 1986-87 season, probably still living off the money of his salary buyout paid by the Maple Leafs, he joined the Brantford Mott’s Clamatos and goaltender that Senior Men’s team to the 1987 Allan Cup at the Civic Centre in four straight games over a team from Nelson, British Columbia.

It might have been one of the strongest Senior Men’s teams ever, which suited up 11 former National Hockey League (NHL) players; including Stan Jonathan and the former Vezina trophy-winning goalie Edwards.

The Really Bottom Line for Edwards

Looking back, Edwards’ time with the Maple Leafs was undoubtedly one of his own personal low points. It was also perhaps the worst goalie performance in the franchise’s goalie history.

Fortunately, Edwards will not be remembered for his time in Toronto. He was a great Sabres goalie and his Buffalo resume was solid. It’s tough to be critical of a former Vezina Trophy winner.

Still, his time with the Maple Leafs is one to forget.

Related: Can Maple Leafs Matthew Knies Carry His Solid Play Into 2023-24?

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