Vesa Toskala
Vesa Toskala 2006 2
Toskala with the Sharks in 2006
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
195 lb (89 kg)
Nationality Flag of Finland Finnish
Born May 20 1977 (1977-05-20) (age 43),
Tampere, Finland
NHL Draft 90th overall, 1995
San Jose Sharks
Pro Career 1995 – present

Vesa Tapani Toskala (born on May 20, 1977 in Tampere, Finland), is a retired professional ice hockey goaltender that played for the San Jose Sharks Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. He is a butterfly style goaltender.

Early careerEdit

Toskala was selected by San Jose in the 1995 NHL Entry Draft (4th round, 90th overall). The Sharks also took fellow Finn Miikka Kiprusoff in the fifth round. Toskala turned heads with his stellar play in the 1998–99 season with Ilves of the SM-liiga, where he went 21-12-0 with a 2.14 GAA and a 0.916 save percentage and posted five shutouts. The next season, playing a style that modeled after Markus Korhonen he played with Färjestads BK of the Swedish Elitserien and posted an impressive 2.59 GAA. In one game with Färjestad, Toskala scored a goal. At this point, Toskala was not sure if he wanted to have a career in hockey. Wanting a more stable job, he was going to quit hockey altogether to go to school full-time, before San Jose enticed him to North America.

He holds the San Jose Club record as the only goalie to record a multiple point game as he tallied two assists against Chicago on February 3, 2007.

North American careerEdit

In his first season in North America in 2000–01, he played with the Kentucky Thoroughblades of the AHL. Splitting time with second-year-pro Kiprusoff, he played 44 games, going 22-13-5 with a 2.77 GAA and a 0.911 save percentage, quickly adapting to the North American game and played three games for Kentucky in the playoffs. The next year, after the team's move to Cleveland he took over the starting role after Kiprusoff was recalled to San Jose, and in 62 games went 19-33-7 with a 2.99 GAA and a 0.912 save percentage. That season he led the league in games played and saves made (1,845). When Kiprusoff fell to injury, Toskala was called up to back-up Evgeni Nabokov. Toskala received ten minutes of playing time in his first stint in the NHL, where he stopped the two shots he faced.

San Jose SharksEdit

In the 2002–03 NHL season, Nabokov and San Jose could not settle on a contract and Toskala served as Kiprusoff's backup. When Kiprusoff faltered, Toskala stepped in and played admirably, going 4-3-1 with a 2.35 GAA and a 0.927 save percentage. He earned his first shutout in a 25-save-effort against the Detroit Red Wings. When Nabokov was re-signed, Toskala was sent back to Cleveland, and he struggled going 15-30-2, with a 3.21 GAA and a 0.903 save percentage. Nonetheless, the Sharks brass remembered Toskala's stellar play in the big league, and at the end of the season, they recalled Toskala, meaning the Sharks now had three goaltenders on their roster. Since Nabokov was the established starter, Kiprusoff and Toskala fought for the backup position, and Toskala won the battle when Kiprusoff was traded to the Calgary Flames. When Kiprusoff enjoyed tremendous success in Calgary, leading them to the Stanley Cup finals, many believed that since San Jose had picked Toskala over Kiprusoff, Toskala could be even better. That season, playing in 28 games, Toskala went 12-8-4 with a 2.06 GAA and a 0.930 save percentage. He did not play in the playoffs.

2005–06 proved to be a career year for Toskala; he began as the backup to Nabokov, but after a start on February 8 he posted a record of 17-2-2 leading to a Stanley Cup playoff berth for the Sharks. Toskala's goals-against-average fell from 3.25 to 2.55, while his save percentage increased from 0.872 to .900. This earned him the nickname "The Finnish Horse" from Shark's broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky. Toskala's play earned him several accolades and relegated Nabokov to the role of backup goaltender. On February 27, the Sharks resigned Toskala to a two-year contract extension worth US$2.75 million. Toskala finished the playoffs with 2.45 goals-against-average and a 0.910 save percentage.

Since both Toskala and Nabokov were seen as number one goalies, the Sharks attempted to trade one or the other before the season began. No trade occurred, and Ron Wilson opted to alternate starts between Toskala and Nabokov. Through 71 games, Toskala played in 35 games, starting 31 and posting a 2.45 GAA, along with 3 shutouts. Nabokov got the nod after that, and played in San Jose's remaining regular season and playoff games.

Toronto Maple LeafsEdit

On June 22, the first day of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft weekend in Columbus, Ohio, Sharks general manager Doug Wilson traded Toskala along with forward Mark Bell to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the club's 2007 1st (13th overall, which was later traded to the St. Louis Blues) and 2nd round draft picks, as well as Toronto's 4th round pick in 2009.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Toskala to a four year contract with the team worth 4 million dollars a season in July 2007. He and Andrew Raycroft shared starts until late November, when Toskala's GAA and save percentage improved dramatically. He recorded two shutouts in December, and the NHL named him best goaltender of the month.

On March 18, 2008 in a match against the New York Islanders, Toskala suffered an embarrassing blunder. The Islander's Rob Davison attempted to clear the puck out of the Defensive Zone, because of a Penalty. The shot, from 197 feet away bounced 5 times before bouncing over Toskala's glove and into the net.

In the 2009 NHL regular season opener on October 9, 2008, the official scoresheet between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings listed Vesa Toskala as the Maple Leafs captain. Coach Ron Wilson stated that the scoresheet was a mistake.

On March 4, 2009, Toskala announced that he would be undergoing season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum; the Maple Leafs claimed goalie Martin Gerber off of re-entry waivers to replace him.


  • 2001–02: The Hockey News AHL Mid-Season All-Rookie Team
  • NHL Goaltender of the Month - December 2007

Career statisticsEdit

Season Team League GP W L T OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1995–96 Ilves Tampere FNL 37 14 14 7 - 2073 109 1 3.16
1996–97 Ilves Tampere FNL 40 22 12 5 - 2270 108 0 2.85
1997–98 Ilves Tampere FNL 43 26 13 3 - 2554 118 1 2.77
1998–99 Ilves Tampere FNL 33 21 12 0 - 1966 70 4 2.14
1999–00 Farjestads BK Karlstad SEL 44 - - - - 2652 118 3 2.67 .966
2000–01 Kentucky Thoroughblades AHL 44 22 13 5 - 2466 114 2 2.77 .911
2001–02 San Jose Sharks NHL 1 0 0 0 - 10 0 0 0.00 1.00
2001–02 Cleveland Barons AHL 62 19 33 7 - 3574 178 3 2.99 .912
2002–03 Cleveland Barons AHL 49 15 30 2 - 2824 151 1 3.21 .903
2002–03 San Jose Sharks NHL 11 4 3 1 - 537 21 1 2.35 .927
2003–04 San Jose Sharks NHL 28 12 8 4 - 1541 53 1 2.06 .930
2004–05 Ilves Tampere FNL 3 0 1 2 - 186 8 0 2.58 .930
2005–06 San Jose Sharks NHL 37 23 7 - 4 2039 87 2 2.56 .901
2005–06 Cleveland Barons AHL 1 0 0 1 - 65 0 1 0.00 1.00
2006–07 San Jose Sharks NHL 38 26 10 - 1 2142 84 4 2.35 .908
2007–08 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 33 25 - 6 3837 175 3 2.74 .904
2008–09 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 53 22 17 - 11 3056 166 1 3.26 .891
NHL totals 234 120 70 5 22 13162 586 12 2.67 .905

External linksEdit

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