Thomas Vanek currently has 244 goals in a Buffalo Sabres uniform. That puts him seventh on the teams all time scoring list.
With all the talk of fire sale and blowing this team up – and the fact that Vanek is heading into the final year on his contract – where will he end up on the list when his tenure is done in Buffalo?
Does Buffalo try to resign all three and reshape the franchise around them – or do they do it with only one or two of them? When I ran the poll earlier this month, I got 209 votes on who the Buffalo Sabres should keep. Vanek was the only player to receive more than 40 votes, in fact he won 131 votes. Ryan Miller was second with 26, Jason Pominville earned 17, and 35 people voted to get rid of them all.
The fact that Thomas Vanek is 7th in all time goal scoring for the team and able to jump even higher in quick time should throw up plenty of flags that Thomas Vanek should remain in a Buffalo Sabres uniform for the remainder of his career.
The 500 Club
Perreault played in 1192 games as a Buffalo Sabre. In the salary cap and free agency era, it is almost certain that his team leading 512 career goals will stand the test of time – you just don’t see a franchise player sticking around in Buffalo like that anymore. Perreault never scored 50 goals in a season, and already Vanek has two forty goal or better seasons. Through 17 years with the Sabres, Perreault only had 3 40 plus seasons.
The 300 Club
2. Rick Martin
Rico had the best chance at beating Perreaults record, but only donned an NHL sweater for 12 seasons, 10 with the Buffalo Sabres and two with the Los Angeles Kings. All but two of his 384 career goals were scored in blue and gold. Martin had back to back 50+ goal season with the Sabres boosting his numbers to the number 2 spot.
Andreychuk spent one more season in Buffalo – and was close to breaking the number two spot away from Rico. 368 goals in 12 years for the Buffalo Sabres. He also did not hit the 50 goal plateau, but did make it to 40 or better twice while wearing blue and gold. *Dave had one fifty goal season withe the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The 200 Club
4. Danny Gare
Outside of the French Connection – he is the only member of the Buffalo Sabres on this list that has his numbers retired into the rafters. Gare only spent eight years with the franchise, but was able to amass 267 goals. Gare is the first person on the list that Vanek can catch during his current contract with the Sabres – and he he can it in 8 seasons as well, but only if he scores 24 more goals this year.
5. Craig Ramsay
Like Perreault, Ramsay spent his entire career with the Buffalo Sabres. Through 14 seasons with the team he found the back of the net 252 times – a goal that Vanek can definitely hit this season, needing only eight more goals to tie Ramsay.
6. Mike Foligno
Jumpin’ Mike Foligno leapt into the air 247 times across ten seasons for the Buffalo Sabres. His son’s have carried on his legacy in the league, both jumping in honor of their father on their first NHL goals. Vanek can easily surpass Foligno this year by netting just four more goals. Maybe Marcus Foligno pulls Vanek aside and asks him to make the family leap on goal number four as a visual stick tap to dad?
7. Thomas Vanek
Vanek has through 28 games this season, and across his eight years with the Buffalo Sabres 244 goals, making him the active leader on the list, as all six guys ahead of him have left the game from a playing perspective. Vanek could easily reach Danny Gare while under contract for the Buffalo Sabres if he stays on the team through the end of the 2013-2014 season. If he gets another contract from the Buffalo Sabres – depending on the length of the contract he will surpass Gare and start making a run for Andreychuk and Martin. Without a fifty goal season – I doubt he catches Perreault.
The question then becomes – if Vanek is around long enough to challenge Perreault for number one, or even Rick Martin at two – do we see #26 vaulted to the rafters?
*Numbers are based on regular season goals scored only. Stats retrieved from Hockey Reference.com and Wikipedia.