- E.J. Hradek, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
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For any team seeking a goaltending upgrade, Ed Belfour is tanned, rested and ready.
The future Hall of Famer, who turned 44 last April, is working out near his suburban Dallas home as he seeks a return to the NHL. Agent Ron Salcer confirmed that his long-time client has asked him to contact clubs to determine any interest level.
Belfour hasn't played in the league since the 2006-07 season, when he worked 58 games for the Florida Panthers. On a non-playoff team in South Florida, Belfour posted a very respectable 27 wins, a 2.77 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage.
In 2007-08, Belfour packed his pads for Sweden, playing 20 games (16 wins, 1.79 GAA, .921 SP) for Leksands. "The Eagle" didn't play in any professional league last season, but opted against making an official retirement announcement. Known as a fitness junkie, he kept in shape by training and competing in triathlons.
During a brilliant 17-year career spanning 963 regular-season games with the Blackhawks, Sharks, Stars, Maple Leafs and Panthers, Belfour compiled 484 victories, ranking him third on the all-time list behind Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy. The Carmen, Manitoba native participated in another 161 playoff games, posting 88 wins and a 2.16 GAA. Belfour made three trips to the Stanley Cup finals, backstopping the Dallas Stars to the title in 1999.
While teams might be worried about his age and occasionally erratic off-ice behavior, Belfour still could be an affordable upgrade for several teams seeking goaltending help. Based on last season's play and subsequent offseason moves, the Avalanche, Flyers and Oilers are among a group of teams that might have an interest in the veteran.
On his Web site, www.belfour.com, the legendary goalie talks about his love for the game and competition.
"I always wanted to play professional hockey," Belfour says. "Every hockey player's dream, no matter at what level or what age, is to play professionally. At first, you don't know what it's all about, but you have that dream and you always work hard toward it. The older you get, the more you start dedicating yourself to the game."
E.J. Hradek covers the NHL for ESPN The Magazine.
Ed Belfour, who turned 44 last April, is working out near his suburban Dallas home as he seeks a return to the NHL.