7 Cool Things About Maple Leafs’ Goalie Felix “The Cat” Potvin

Felix Potvin is a Canadian former skilled ice hockey goaltender who performed within the NHL from 1991 to 2004. He was born on June 23, 1971, in Anjou, Quebec, Canada.

Potvin was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs within the second spherical (thirty first total) of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft and commenced his NHL profession within the 1991-92 season. He performed with the crew till the 1998-99 season. He additionally performed for a number of different NHL groups, together with the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, and Boston Bruins.

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That stated, Potvin is finest identified for his time in Toronto. He performed a key function within the crew’s success within the early Nineteen Nineties. Throughout his NHL profession, he performed in 635 video games, had a report of 266-260-85, a goals-against-average (GAA) of two.76, and a save proportion (SV%) of .905. 

Felix Potvin of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Circa 1995 (Photo by Denis Brodeur/NHLI by way of Getty Images)

Potvin is without doubt one of the most-loved gamers in Maple Leafs historical past. In this publish, I’ll share what I imagine are seven cool issues about him.

Cool Thing #1: Potvin Was a Great Goalie Right From the Start of His Career

Potvin had a improbable rookie season with the Maple Leafs in 1992-93, main the crew to the convention finals and coming in third place in voting for the Calder Trophy because the NHL’s prime rookie. That season, the Calder was won by the great Teemu Selanne (Winnipeg Jets) with Joe Juneau (Boston Bruins) coming in second. 

Related: Maple Leafs Fans Continuing Love Affair with Felix Potvin

By the way in which, Potvin performed so nicely in his rookie season that Toronto traded away Grant Fuhr to offer him the beginning job. 

Cool Thing #2: Potvin Was a Great Goalie on a Poor Team

Overall, Potvin’s rookie season with the Maple Leafs was a robust begin to a profitable NHL profession. His affect proper off the bat was outstanding. In 1991-92, the Maple Leafs had been coached by Tom Watt and captained by Wendel Clark. They put up a report of 30-43-7 (for 67 factors). They completed fifth within the NHL’s Norris Division.

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However, in Potvin’s first full season as a beginning goaltender, he helped the crew to enhance its report considerably, going from 30 wins within the earlier season to a report of 44-29-11 in 1992-93. His personal report was 25-15-7 (with a 2.50 GAA and a .910 SV%).

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However, Potvin won’t have been the one motive the crew completed so nicely. They additionally had a brand new coach named Pat Burns. The Maple Leafs completed third within the Norris Division, and Burns received the Jack Adams Award.

Cool Thing #3: Potvin Was Noted for His Unique Goalie Style

Potvin possessed glorious technical abilities and was identified for his fast reflexes, agility, and lateral motion within the web. He was additionally well-known for his distinctive, hybrid goaltending fashion. This fashion depended upon highly-acrobatic actions and fast reflexes. 

Related: Joseph Woll: Best Goalie Developed by Maple Leafs in 35 Years

Potvin was particularly good at making diving saves and utilizing his blocker to cease pucks. Game after recreation, he made acrobatic saves and stopped high-quality scoring probabilities from the opposing crew. He pissed off quite a lot of opponents.

Cool Thing #4: Potvin Was Dubbed with the Nickname “The Cat”

Potvin was a fan favourite with the Maple Leafs and earned the nickname “The Cat” due to his quickness and agility. Fans would typically throw stuffed cats onto the ice after he made an enormous save. 

Actually, it appears as if Potvin’s nickname dates again to his junior hockey days with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) when a broadcaster first thought that Potvin’s fast reflexes and agile actions within the web reminded him of a cat. There was additionally a long-time newspaper cartoon referred to as “Felix the Cat” that helped cement the nickname.

The nickname caught with Potvin as he moved on to the NHL, and he turned often known as “The Cat” all through his skilled profession. It was a becoming nickname, as a result of Potvin was certainly each fast and agile within the web. He was a tough goalie to beat.

Cool Thing #4: In the 1994 Playoffs, Potvin Recorded Three 1-0 Shutouts

One of one of the best playoff performances by any Maple Leafs’ goalie was throughout the 1994 NHL Western Conference Quarter-Finals. The Maple Leafs defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in six video games. 

But maybe most attention-grabbing is, in that 1994 playoff series, Potvin recorded three shutouts in those six games. All three of these ended as 1-0 video games. That included back-to-back 1-0 shutouts in Games 5 and 6 to win the collection. 

Cool Thing #5: Potvin Set a Maple Leafs’ Record for Playing in 74 Games

In 1997, Potvin set a franchise report by taking part in in 74 video games in a single season and was named an NHL All-Star for the second time in his profession.

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However, he was caught on a dropping crew. That season the Maple Leafs’ report was 30-44-8 and so they completed sixth within the NHL’s Central Division. The crew’s coach was Mike Murphy and the crew captain was Doug Gilmour. Of these 30 crew wins, Potvin received all however three of these video games. He had a dropping report that season of 27-36-7 however nonetheless had an honest 3.15 GAA and .908 SV%.

Cool Thing #6: Potvin Was Part of the Maple Leafs’ “Come Back”

Part of the rationale Potvin was cherished a lot was that he represented the Maple Leafs’ “comeback.” Between 1979-80 and Potvin’s first season in 1992-93, the Maple Leafs didn’t have a single successful season. Suddenly, with Potvin, the long-suffering Maple Leafs’ followers had one thing to cheer about. They had a crew that truly received extra video games than it misplaced, and a goalie who really may assist them win.

In each 1992-93 and 1993-94, Potvin helped the Maple Leafs get to the convention finals. He was the goalie who helped them emerge from the darkness of dropping season after season and continued struggling below the infamous Harold Ballard (who ran the crew from 1972 till his dying in 1990). 

As a end result, Potvin had turn out to be a part of the renewed cultural heritage of the Maple Leafs. He was a part of the crew’s first style of success after so many seasons of failure.

Cool Thing #7: Potvin “Played” a Strong Mental Game

Potvin not solely was bodily gifted, however he additionally “played” a robust psychological recreation. He had the power to remain targeted and composed below strain, even in high-stress conditions akin to playoffs or shootouts. His psychological toughness allowed him to make key saves and preserve his crew in video games, even once they had been being outplayed – which was typically.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Harold Ballard: The Owner Who Perfected Greed

Potvin was additionally identified for his glorious work ethic and dedication to enhancing his abilities. He was always analyzing his recreation and on the lookout for methods to enhance his approach and positioning. This dedication to continuous enchancment helped him preserve a excessive degree of play all through his profession.

Felix Potvin Was a Fan Favorite for All His Seasons Playing in Toronto

Potvin shall be remembered for his sturdy aggressive spirit and fervour for the sport. He was a fierce competitor and was prepared to do no matter it took to assist his crew win. 

His distinctive mixture of technical ability, psychological toughness, work ethic, and aggressive spirit made him one of many biggest goaltenders the Maple Leafs have ever had within the web.

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