Hockey

Belfour signed by Panthers

Veteran goalie Ed Belfour will return for another season after signing a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers.

Veteran goalie Ed Belfour will return for another season after signing a one-year contract with the Florida Panthers.

The 41-year-old, who has been recovering from back surgery in April, became an unrestricted free agent this summer when the Toronto Maple Leafs decided not to pick up an option on his contract.

Belfour's 457 career victories rank second in NHL history. Only Patrick Roy, who retired in 2003 after 18 seasons with Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche,has more career wins (551).

"Ed is one of the most successful and talented goaltenders in the National Hockey League. It was our goal to add more depth at the goaltending position and we feel we have sufficiently addressed this area with the acquisitions of Ed, Alex Auld and Craig Anderson during the off-season," said Panthers general manager Mike Keenan.

Belfour won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and is a two-time winner of the Vezina Trophy (1991 and 1993) as the league's top goalie.

A veteran of 17 NHL seasons, Belfour had a disappointing 2005-06 campaign with Toronto, compiling a record of 22-22-4 with a 3.29 goals-against average.

A native of Carman, Man., Belfour went 93-61-15 with a 2.51 GAA in three seasons with Toronto.

The Maple Leafs acquired former Boston Bruins netminder Andrew Raycroft during last month's NHL entry draft to fill the void left by Belfour's departure.

Although Belfour plays with an unconventional style, he is acrobatic and difficult to beat down low. He's also renowned for maintaining his focus and being able to make a key save when called upon.

Working against him are his recent back problems and his age, which have cast doubts over his ability to play at a high level for a full season.

Among Tuesday's other moves by non-Canadian NHL teams:

  • New Jersey Devils forward Scott Gomez was awarded a one-year, $5-million US contract in salary arbitration.
  • Forward Mark Recchi rejoined the Pittsburgh Penguins, signing a one-year contract worth $2.28 million US.
  • The San Jose Sharks inked forward Mark Bell to a three-year contract and defenceman Christian Ehrhoff for two years.
  • The New Jersey Devils signed forward Rod Pelley as well as defencemen Tomas Harant, Mike Mottau and Johnny Oduya.

With files from the Associated Press