November 28, 2015

Gary Edwards

Gary Edwards was the first ever entry draft selection of the St. Louis Blues. The Blues, who opted not to select players in their first year (1967), selected Gary 6th overall in 1968.

Despite such a lofty draft position, Gary's career in St. Louis was short. Though he stayed in the Blues system until the summer of 1971, he only appeared in 8 minutes of action with the Blues. Instead Gary spent most of his time bouncing around the minor leagues. When he did get called up to St. Louis he backed up living legends Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante.

With names like that in goal, its no surprise that things didn't work out for Gary. Thus in the summer of 1971 he was acquired by the Los Angeles Kings, who also acquired Rogie Vachon that summer. Rogie was supposed to be the starter and Gary would back him up. However Rogie hurt his knee that year, and Gary filled in with a young Billy Smith as backup. Gary played admirably despite a 13-23-5 record with 3.60 GAA. He played well enough that upon Rogie's return, the Kings eventually let Smith go to the NY Islanders and would soon become a legend.

Edwards spent 6 more seasons in Los Angeles. He and Rogie provided solid goaltending in some lean years in LA. In fact in 1975 he and Rogie were runners up to Bernie Parent of the Flyers for the Vezina trophy, then awarded to the goalie(s) of the team with the fewest goal against. The Flyers gave up three fewer goals than the Kings that year.

Gary rarely played in the city of Los Angeles, as he was nicknamed "the road goalie" by the media. Rogie and Gary would often split the workload, but Rogie played most of the home games while Gary played on the road.

Gary was traded with Juha Widing to the Cleveland Barons for Gary "Cobra" Simmons and Jim Moxey. Gary played 2 years in Cleveland and accompanied the team's move to Minnesota where he played two more years.

Gary spent his last two seasons bouncing around the NHL, from Edmonton, back to St. Louis and finally Pittsburgh before retiring in 1982.

Gary surrendered over 1000 goals in his career, but is famous for letting three special goals in. He surrendered was Guy Lafleur's first NHL goal, Bobby Orr's last NHL goal, and Wayne Gretzky's 50th goal of his rookie season in 1979-80.

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