Skip to main content

Top 100 Goalies: No. 76 — Don Edwards

The slick Sabre is living proof that any goalie can get his big break at the most unexpected moment.

When a guy goes through an NHL career with ‘Dart’ as his nickname, it’s pretty easy to identify his most prominent attribute. Such was the case with Don Edwards, whose rapier-like reflexes made him an early star and fan favorite for the Buffalo Sabres.

Standing just 5-foot-9 and weighing in at 160 pounds, Edwards overcame his physical shortcomings with athletic prowess and a competitive streak that would simply not allow him to give up on any scoring chance. Edwards rode those attributes to six seasons with the Sabres and three more with Calgary before ending his career with a one-season stint in Toronto.

Edwards’ tenure with the Sabres began under the strangest of circumstances. Called up from the AHL when No. 1 goalie Gerry Desjardins went down with an eye injury, Edwards dressed for his first game expecting backup Al Smith to be the starter. Smith took the warmups, but Sabres GM Punch Imlach ordered coach Floyd Smith to start Edwards just two minutes before the opening faceoff. Edwards returned to the Sabres’ dressing room after the warmups to learn from Smith that he, in fact, was starting. After the Canadian and American national anthems, Smith left the Sabres bench, took a lap around the ice and gave his regards to Sabres owners Seymour and Northrup Knox before going to the dressing room and leaving the arena.

However bizarrely things unfolded, it turned out to be an astute call by Imlach. Edwards went 16-7-2 the rest of the season and returned in 1977-78 to become the starter. He shared the Vezina Trophy with Bob Sauve in 1979-80, but Edwards couldn’t duplicate his success in the playoffs. Despite posting three 100-point seasons with Edwards in net, the Sabres made it past the second round only once. Impatient with the lack of playoff success, Buffalo dealt Edwards to Calgary after the 1981-82 season.

Born: Sept. 28, 1955, Hamilton, Ont.
NHL Career: 1977-86
Teams: Buf, Cgy, Tor
Stats: 208-155-74, 3.32 GAA, .887 SP, 16 SO
All-Star: 2 (Second-2)
Trophies: 1 (Vezina-1)

DID YOU KNOW?

Among goalies with at least 150 games in Sabres history, Edwards has the best points percentage at .622, firmly ahead of Dominik Hasek, Ryan Miller, Tom Barrasso and Darren Puppa. Edwards was 156-83-61 as a Sabre.

TOP HEADLINES

USATSI_18299402

Can the Rangers Weather the Hurricanes?

The star-caliber players at the top of the Rangers lineup will need to be firing on all cylinders in this series in order to compensate for some lackluster depth in areas. And Igor Shesterkin needs to be the King he was in the regular season, too, to beat Carolina.

2022 IIHF World Championship

Men's World Championship Roundup: Quarterfinal Race Heats Up After Electric Friday

Finland, Germany, Latvia and Slovakia were all victorious on a Friday that helped set the stage for a crazy final few days of round-robin play at the World Championship.

USATSI_18305450
Play

Bluelines: The Battle of the Sunshine State

Stan Fischler looks at the Florida/Tampa Bay battle, Evgeni Malkin's future, television ratings in the United States, the Carolina Hurricanes' arena, Seattle's state of coaching, how to be a Zamboni driver and more.