Goaltender Don Edwards was a fifth round pick of the Buffalo Sabres, 135th overall in the 1975 NHL Draft. To say he was a steal would be a huge understatement. Edwards had a highly successful eleven-year NHL career that included stops in Buffalo, Calgary, and Toronto.
Edwards was a standout goalie in junior hockey with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHA. He was a workhorse, playing in 120 games over two seasons, and yet was not listed as a high draft pick by the scouting bureau. Many felt his size--or lack of it--would be a major problem in the NHL.
In his first pro season, Edwards got the nod to start in goal for 25 Sabres games in 1976-77 after spending a year honing his skills in the minors with the Hershey Bears. In 1977-78, he was tabbed the team's number one netminder and played in 72 games. In fact, from the time he was called up from Hershey, Edwards played in 50 of 53 Sabres' games and 85 of their last 91 regular season contests. What had the hockey world amazed was how Edwards seemed to save his best performances for the league's strongest teams. Buffalo did not have a losing record against any of the top teams and Edwards' goals against average facing Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia, and the New York Islanders was lower that it was against the rest of the league. Worried that they were overusing their goalie, the Sabres cut his games down to 54 in 1978-79, giving more playing time to backup Bob Sauve. Edwards posted a solid 26-18-9 record. In 1979-80 he and Sauve shared the Vezina trophy, given to the team with the lowest goals against average.
Edwards remained in Buffalo for another two years, turning in excellent seasons which saw him play in 45 and 62 games, respectively. But the Buffalo management and fans were becoming frustrated at a team that never seemed to be able to get far in the playoffs after posting strong regular season results. In the off-season, the Sabres decided it was time to move in a new direction and so Edwards and Richie Dunn were sent to the Calgary Flames for draft picks.
It was a three-year stay in Calgary, but Edwards was never able to reach the same level of play that he did in Buffalo. In 1985-86, Edwards joined the Toronto Maple Leafs, his favourite team growing up as a kid. It was a 38-game experiment which ended when the Leafs bought out the remaining two years of his contract. As it turned out to be the final NHL stop for Edwards, who was finished in the league at just 31. It was a huge comedown from just a few years earlier, when he was regarded as one of the league's top goalies in Buffalo.
What many find to be incredible about Don Edwards is that he did not start playing goal in hockey until he was 13, when he was able to prove to his father that he first knew how to skate properly. At 12, he was an all-star forward for his team in Binbrook, Ontario and by the following season he was their all-star goalie.
Edwards continued to play at the semi-pro level near Hamilton, Ontario for the Brantford Mott's Clamatos of the Eastern Canadian senior hockey league until the late 1980s. His late uncle Roy was also an NHL goalie with Detroit and Pittsburgh.