The Buffalo Sabres travel to the Island of Long tonight for a tilt against Eastern Conference rival, the New York Islanders, and while Tim Redinger has taken the liberty of previewing said matchup for you, I am going deep into the history between these two storied franchises, specifically their busy trade and transaction history. I have decided to take a brief look at each and every trade and waiver wire transaction that has taken place between the Sabres and Islanders since the latter came into the NHL in 1972.
Some of the names you are about to read will either produce an “Oh yeah! I remember him” or “Who the hell is that”-type response, as you try and recollect in your dusty memory banks ghosts of hockey past. One of these trades, however, will surely exercise your yak muscle, as you are reminded of exactly why (or why not) you hate the Sabres current General Manager.
So let’s take a closer look at the relationship built between two franchises that once played a penalty-free game exactly 39 years ago today, February 4th, 1973:
(3/10/1974) – Then G/M Punch Imlach traded Sabres forward Doug Rombough, who had a grand total of 8 goals in 51 games (which might not look so bad on this year’s team), to the Isles for one of the most popular Sabres of the first decade, Brian “Spinner” Spencer. Spencer amassed 42 goals and 72 assists in 240 games for Buffalo.
(3/3/1975) – Sabres trade defenseman Garry Lariviere (who didn’t make his NHL debut until 1979 with the Quebec Nordiques) to New York for goaltender Gerry Desjardins who, in parts of four seasons with Buffalo, won 66 games and added 5 shutouts.
The two teams cooled down a bit for the next decade and 1/2, but in the mid-eighties continued hot and heavy.
(10/6/1986) – The Sabres selected Hall-of-Fame winger Clark Gillies from the Isles in the 1986 waiver draft, in which Buffalo also grabbed Wilf Paiement from the New York Rangers. Gillies would go on to play 86 games over parts of two seasons with Buffalo, scoring 15 goals.
(6/17/1989) – Sabres send journeyman defenseman Joe Reekie, who played parts of four seasons in Buffalo, to the Islanders for a 6th round pick in that year’s draft. The Sabres selected the legendary Bill Pye with the pick.
(1/21/1991) – Center John Tucker, who scored 116 goals and put up 270 points in 349 games as a Sabre, was dealt by then Sabres G/M Gerry Meehan for the second time in as many seasons. The Islanders sent future considerations to the Sabres in return for Tucker’s services.
(10/25/1991) – In perhaps one of either franchise’s biggest swaps, the Sabres sent forwards Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, Dave McLlwain and 6’6″ defenseman Uwe Krupp to the Islanders for forwards Pat LaFontaine, Randy Wood and defenseman Randy Hillier. LaFontaine would go on to set a Sabres franchise record for most points in a season, when he put up 148 in the 1992-93 season.
(9/30/1993) – Goaltender Tom Draper, who played in 37 games for the Sabres and collected 15 wins, was dealt to Long Island for a 7th round pick in the following year’s NHL entry draft. Buffalo, continuing their mastery of selecting late-round gems, utilized the pick to select forward Steve “why aren’t I in the Sabres Hall-of-Fame yet“ Plouffe.
(10/2/1995) – The Islanders, still reeling from losing out on the Steve Plouffe sweepstakes, claimed Sabres forward Bob Sweeney in that year’s waiver draft. Sweeney, a former Boston Bruin, was a well-liked Sabres centerman who scored 37 times in 185 games while wearing the blue and gold.
(3/24/1998) – The Sabres acquired bruising forward Paul Kruse and minor-league defenseman Jason Holland from the Isles for forward Jason Dawe, who had worn out his welcome with new Sabres coach Lindy Ruff.
(6/24/2001) – After sitting out the entire 2000-01 season due to a contract dispute, the Sabres finally parted ways with disgruntled center Michael Peca, and sent him to the Islanders for promising youngsters Tim Connolly and Taylor Pyatt. At the time, then New York General Manager Mike Milbury told various news outlets that he thought Sabres G/M Darcy Regier got the best of him in the trade, and told him as much. Looking back on the deal now, Milbury’s statement is laughable.
(6/30/2011) – Unable to agree to terms with unrestricted free-agent defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, whom the Islanders acquired earlier in the day from the Vancouver Canucks for a late-round draft pick, New York G/M Garth Snow sent the defenseman to the Sabres for a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft. The Sabres then signed Ehrhoff to a 10-year, $40 million-dollar contract.
Thus ends the frenzy of player-swapping the Sabres and Islanders have kept as a constant over the years. There certainly were a couple doozies, and many forgettable deals, as well.
Hope you had as much fun as I did skating down memory lane!
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Topics: Benoit Hogue, Bob Sweeney, Brian Spencer, Buffalo Sabres, Christian Ehrhoff, Clark Gillies, Darcy Regier, Dave Mclwaine, Doug Rombough, Garry Lariviere, Gerry Meehan, Islanders Trades, Jason Dawe, Jason Holland, John Tucker, Lindy Ruff, Michael Peca, New York Islanders, Pat Lofontaine, Paul Kruse, Pierre Turgeon, Punch Imlach, Randy Hillier, Randy Wood, Sabres Trades, Taylor Pyatt, Tim Connolly, Tom Draper, Uwe Krupp, Wilf Paiement