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Michael Scott Palmateer (born January 13, 1954) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey goalie. He played in the NHL from 1976 to 1984 for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Washington Capitals.

Mike Palmateer
Born (1954-01-13) January 13, 1954 (age 65)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg; 12 st 2 lb)
Position Goaltender
Caught Right
Played for Toronto Maple Leafs
Washington Capitals
NHL Draft 85th overall, 1974
Toronto Maple Leafs
Playing career 1976–1984


Playing careerEdit

As a youth, Palmateer played in the 1966 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament with the Toronto Shopsy's minor ice hockey team.[1]

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Palmateer was drafted 85th overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft. Palmateer played 356 games in the NHL, posting 149 wins against 138 losses and 52 ties while compiling a 3.53 Goals Against Average. Palmateer began his career with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1976-77 season and would serve as the club's starting goaltender for the next three seasons. In his fourth season, the 1979-80 campaign, Palmateer was slowed by injuries and made just 38 appearances for the Leafs while sharing the duties with four other goalies. Off-ice drama during this season would lead to his departure from Toronto. After being sidelined with an ankle injury that kept him out of the crease for six weeks, Palmateer's injury was questioned[2] by the team's management, who felt he was healthy enough to play. Palmateer, a pending free agent, could not get Maple Leafs general manager Punch Imlach to agree to a multi-year contract[3] and their impasse ultimately led to the goaltender signing a four-year $800,000[3] deal with the Washington Capitals. In lieu of working out the compensation required for the signing, the two clubs agreed to a trade that would send Palmateer's rights to Washington while the Maple Leafs acquired defensemen Robert Picard along with forward Tim Coulis.[4] The clubs also swapped draft picks. Following the trade, Capitals general manager Max McNab declared "with a player like Palmateer, I feel we are set in goal for the next ten years."[3]

Things did not work out that way, however. Palmateer's first year in Washington saw the netminder win 18 games for the lowly Capitals, but the following year he won just two games and spent the bulk of the season sidelined by a knee injury. Palmateer's knee problems, which seriously hampered his mobility, ultimately cost GM McNab and head coach Gary Green their jobs.[citation needed] Capitals owner Abe Pollin, who had committed a large sum of money towards securing Palmateer's services, was not happy to see the goalie struggling and demanded Green continue to use him despite diminishing returns. When Green protested and said that his knees were "gone" and he could no longer play him, Pollin instructed Green to "fix him" so that, at the very least, the Capitals could trade him for something in return.[5] When Palmateer continued to falter, both McNab and Green were fired. During the off-season, David Poile was hired as the new general manager of the Capitals and just days into the job, on September 9, 1982, made his first trade by sending Palmateer back to the Maple Leafs for cash considerations.

Back in Toronto, Palmateer resumed his job as the club's starting goalie, suiting up for 53 games. The next year, his knee problems flared up again and the goalie was limited to 34 games and had his 12th knee surgery performed.[6] With Palmateer sidelined, the bulk of the goaltending duties for the Maple Leafs fell to prospect Allan Bester, who was summoned from the Ontario Hockey League in midseason to take over the starting job.[7] The following year, with Palmateer ready to return, the Maple Leaf management opted to go with youth in goal, and named 20-year olds Bester and Ken Wregget their tandem. That left Palmateer as the odd man out and he was instructed by Maple Leafs general manager Gerry McNamara to stay home and collect his salary.[8] Out of Toronto's plans, Palmateer nearly got a chance to return to the ice in February, after an injury to Edmonton Oilers star goaltender Grant Fuhr. The Oilers' director of player personnel, Barry Fraser, thought Palmateer could be a veteran option to fill in for Fuhr and contacted the Maple Leafs about a trade, but the talks never got off the ground when Fuhr's injury proved to be less serious than first thought.[9] The season would end with Palmateer never suiting up at all.

Palmateer's final taste of NHL action - a preseason game - would come with the Edmonton Oilers.[10] However, with 14 knee operations, a year spent off the ice and the all-star tandem of Fuhr and Andy Moog already in Edmonton, his tryout was brief and he officially retired from the National Hockey League. Palmateer would return to the Maple Leafs as a scout in 2001[11] and worked with the club for the next 14 years. He is now up to twenty knee surgeries and a knee replacement.[11]

Awards and achievementsEdit

  • 1980–81 - Set an NHL record for assists by a goaltender in one season (8).

Career statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Season Team League GP W L T MIN GA SO GAA
1976-77 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 50 23 18 8 2877 154 4 3.21
1977-78 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 63 34 19 9 3760 172 5 2.74
1978-79 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 58 26 21 10 3396 167 4 2.95
1979-80 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 38 16 14 3 2039 125 2 3.68
1980-81 Washington Capitals NHL 49 18 19 9 2679 173 2 3.87
1981-82 Washington Capitals NHL 11 2 7 2 584 47 0 4.83
1982-83 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 53 21 23 7 2965 197 0 3.99
1983-84 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 34 9 17 4 1831 149 0 4.88
NHL Totals 356 149 138 52 19931 1184 17 3.52



  1. ^ "Pee-Wee players who have reached NHL or WHA" (PDF). Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. 2018. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  2. ^ Blumenstock, Kathy. "And pop goes the goalie!".
  3. ^ a b c "The Hour - Google News Archive Search".
  4. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Toronto Star Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ maple Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Legends of Hockey Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Ottawa Citizen,2590703&hl=en. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Ottawa Citizen,540941&hl=en. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ a b Toronto Star Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit