“I’ve actually gotten younger. I’m not one of the old guys anymore,” the 37-year-old Roberts said. “If you’re 35 on our team, you’re still young. We’ve been kidding around about that. There’s no doubt we are an older group, but I think there is a lot of legs left in the old guys.”
Roberts, a teammate of Francis’ in Carolina, helped persuade Francis to drop his no-trade clause.
“I talked to him briefly in the morning. I tried to influence him a little bit. I told him how great a city and how great a hockey town this is,” Roberts said. “I didn’t have to tell him that. He knew.”
Francis arrived during the first period and watched the game. He will make his Toronto debut Thursday against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I’m well aware we have a very good hockey team,” Francis said. “We have a lot of experience and leadership.”
The Maple Leafs have nine players who have been NHL captains, including current leader Mats Sundin.
Belfour recorded his 72nd career shutout, putting him ahead of Harry Lumley for 10th on the NHL career list. Belfour, plagued recently by a sore back, was rarely tested as the Panthers managed just 12 shots throughout the first two periods.
The Maple Leafs didn’t acquire a backup goalie before Tuesday’s NHL trade deadline despite Belfour’s sore back, which has kept him from practicing.
Owen Nolan, Matt Stajan and Joe Nieuwendyk also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won four of five.
The Maple Leafs outshot Florida 42-15.
The offensively challenged Panthers traded leading scorer Valeri Bure on Monday. Florida has won just once in six games (1-4-1).
Florida goalie Steve Shields says some of his teammates are not giving a complete effort.
“We have a lot of guys that show up and play hard and we have some that are holding us back,” Shields said. “It’s pretty obvious to everybody we’re a team that’s in ninth or 10th because we don’t have everybody coming to the rink every night.”
Nolan’s one-timer from in front of the net gave Toronto a 1-0 lead at 5:23 of the first period, and Roberts put a rebound past goalie Steve Shields at 10:52.
Nolan, acquired before last year’s trade deadline, made a pass from behind the net to Stajan, who stretched the lead to 3-0 at 4:48 of the third.
Nieuwendyk scored at 11:31, and Roberts made it 5-0 less than two minutes later.
Fans chanted ‘Eddie!, Eddie!’ in the final minutes.
Johansson came out of retirement Tuesday and signed with the Maple Leafs. Johansson retired from the NHL last August. … Toronto rebounded from a 5-1 loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. … Florida’s Byron Ritchie collapsed to the ice after being checked into the boards by Toronto’s Bryan Marchment in the third. Ritchie had to be helped off. Marchment received a major penalty and agame misconduct for checking from behind.