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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Lost Cards: 1986-87 OPC Don Edwards

  If you made an All-Time Buffalo Sabres roster, there is no question Dominik Hasek would be your starting goalie.  The back-up nod would go to either Ryan Miller, Tom Barrasso or, my pick,  Don Edwards.
  The Sabres used their first round pick in 1975 to draft goalie, Bob Sauve, 17th overall.  Four rounds and 72 picks later, they would draft the other half of an All-Star tandem, Don Edwards.  Sauve would reach the NHL first, but Edwards would leave the greater impression.  Edwards was called up in February of 1977 and proceeded to win seven of his first nine games, including shut-outs against the Black Hawks and Flyers.  Edwards would finish the season with 25gp, 16-7-2 record with a 2.52 GAA.
  Edwards would begin the 1977-78 season as the Sabres starter.  He finished the season as a 2nd Team All-Star, as well as finishing 4th in the Hart Trophy voting.  Don won, a then Sabres record 38 games.  Edwards would have an off year in 1978-79, 26 wins and 3.02 GAA, before returning to the 2nd Team All-Star in 1979-80.  Edwards won 27 games, and 2.57 GAA.  The Sabres, with Edwards and Sauve between the pipes, allowed the few goals in the NHL, earning them the Vezina Trophy.  In 1980, the Vezina trophy was awarded to the goalies on the team with the fewest goals allowed.
  Don continued his solid play for the Sabres, tying for the league led in shutouts in 1980-81.  The following season, Edwards would share history with Wayne Gretzky.  Gretzky would break the single season mark for goals, 76, when he recorded a hat trick against Edwards and the Sabres on February, 24, 1982.  Edwards would finish the season with a 3.52 GAA, good for 9th best in the league.  During Edwards five full seasons with the Sabres, The Sabres would finish 5th or better in least Goals Allowed and Edwards would finish 4th or better in the All-Star Team voting.
  The Sabres would deal Edwards to the Calgary Flames on draft day 1982, in a two player, six draft pick trade.  The trade would give the Sabres three first round picks.  They selected Paul Cyr with the 1st rounder picked up in the Edwards trade.  The two other Sabres 1st round picks turned out to be HHOFers, Phil Housley and Dave Andreychuk.
  Edwards would not duplicate the success he had with the Sabres.  Splitting the net with incumbent Reggie Lemelin, Edwards was not able to outplay Lemelin and found himself expendable as rookie Mike Vernon earned his way onto the Flames roster.  The Flames would trade Edwards to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were looking for a veteran presence between the pipes, for a 4th round draft pick.
  Edwards' decline would continue as he set career worst of 4.73 GAA and tied a career worst with 23 losses, although while only playing in 38 games during the 1985-86 season.  Edwards was not able to fend off youngster, Ken Wregget, to keep the starters job.  Like Mike Palmateer, a few years ago, the Leafs asked the veteran to stay home.  Unlike Palmateer, the Leafs bought out the remaining two years on Edwards contract.
  Edwards would spend  the 1986-87 season playing semi-pro in Ontario.  Like Palmateer, after a season out of the NHL after being dropped by the Maple Leafs, he got a try out with the Edmonton Oilers.  Again, like Palmateer, he did make the team.  Edwards would play a few games with the Oiler's AHL farm club before retiring for good.
  Edwards was an All-Star goalie with the Sabres but his star quickly fell once he left Buffalo.  Ultimately, he ended up in Toronto, which was a death sentence for goalies in the early-mid 80s.  Edwards did get into the 1985-86 OPC set as an airburshed Maple Leaf, but never got a proper send-off.

1986-87 OPC #272 Don Edwards

1986-87 OPC #272 Don Edwards

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