Felix “The Cat” Potvin played for the Leafs from 1991-1999.
During his tenure in Toronto, Potvin consistently put up solid numbers, and was twice an NHL All-Star.
The Toronto Maple Leafs shouldn’t need their goalie to stand on his head to win games. They simply need the consistency that hasn’t been there since the departure of Frederik Anderson.
Several past Toronto goaltenders could make a huge difference to today’s team, such as Curtis Joseph or Ed Belfour, but there’s one standout moment that makes Potvin my choice for this mission.
At the end of a penalty-filled 1996 Leafs-Flyers match, all the skaters on the ice dropped their gloves and starting throwing down. Feeling left out, infamously unhinged Flyers goalie Ron Hextall flew down the ice looking to pound the smaller Potvin into the ice.
Potvin didn’t back down an inch and surprised everyone on hand (including the other players, who stopped to watch one of the best goalie fights ever) by more than holding his own against Hextall. This was no wrestling match, it was an absolute slugfest (search for the fight online for the most entertaining 53 seconds of your day).
Teams will play with more confidence if they’re comfortable that their stopper will be there to save their bacon, especially so if they also know he’s as tough as they are.
Statistically, you could name several Toronto Maple Leafs goalies of the modern era that perhaps outshone Potvin. But Potvin’s consistency, acrobatic style and take-no-prisoners attitude are just what today’s Leafs team needs between the pipes.