The Buffalo Sabres are a proud franchise that loves to dwell in the past. They have had a number of phenomenal players over the years: fan favorites, all stars and some hall of famers. Although there will be some disagreement, here are the top 10 Buffalo Sabres of all time, in my opinion of course.
10. Thomas Vanek
Drafted 5th overall in 2003, Thomas Vanek pulled his weight and then some, over the years. Not only is he the best current Sabre, but also proven to be one of the league’s most dynamic snipers. With 488 career points, and at the age of 29, Vanek still has lots left in the tank. It is yet to be seen how much longer Vanek will remain with the Sabres, but as of now he remains their top player. It is hard to ignore 8 consecutive seasons of 20+ goals. Vanek’s sniping and point production get him inside the top 10.
9. Dave Andreychuk
You have to go back all the way to the 1982 draft to find the 9th player on my list. Not only did Dave Andreychuk provide size and leadership, he also scored 368 goals with the Sabres, which ranks 3rd all time in team history. Andreychuk provided the Sabres with tremendous offensive production, which is why he makes my list.
8. Jim Schoenfeld
Although Jim Schoenfeld was not the most offensive player during his NHL career, his toughness was hard to match. Drafted 5th overall in the 1972 draft, Schoenfeld spent 11 of his 14 NHL seasons with the Sabres. Offensively his best season came during the 1979-80 season where he amassed 36 points in 77 games. Schoenfeld’s forte was by far his defensive play. Opposing forwards always knew where Schoenfeld was on the ice, as he struck fear into his opponents. With over 1100 penalty minutes during his career, there is no questioning his toughness and his spot on my top 10.
7. Rene Robert
After short stints with the Leafs and Penguins, not to mention going undrafed, Rene Robert found himself playing on one of the best lines in hockey: The French Connection. Robert was significantly undersized for an NHL player, but by no means did that slow him down. In the 1774-75 season, Robert helped the Sabres to their first Stanley Cup finals recording 100 points, while chipping in 13 more during the playoffs. Robert’s playmaking, consistent production and his contribution to the French Connection, make him a top 10 player.
6. Alexander Mogilny
To say the least, the Sabres found a gem in the 5th round of the 1988 NHL draft. Buffalo took Russian native Alexander Mogilny, an elusive sniper throughout his NHL career. Although Mogilny only spent 6 seasons with the Sabres his numbers are eye opening. Playing in 381 career games with the blue and gold, Mogilny recorded 444 points. Not to mention recording 76 goals in 77 games during the 1992-93 season. Mogilny was one of the best offensive players to ever suit up for Buffalo, which puts him number 6 on my list.
5. Pat LaFontaine
It’s a shame that injuries played such a big part of Pat LaFontaine’s career. During his first two seasons with the Sabres, LaFontaine recorded a whopping 241 points in 141 games. In 3 of his 6 seasons with the Sabres LaFontaine played in 22 games or less due to injuries. You really have to take a look at LaFontaine’s numbers to realize how good he really was.
4. Phil Housley
One of the best defenseman in NHL history is next up on my list. Drafted 6th overall in 1982, American born Phil Housley was the best D-man the Sabres have ever had. In his 8 years with the Sabres, Housley never scored less than 15 goals, and recorded more than 60 points in every season with the club. His best year came in the 1989-90 season, where Housley registered 81 points in 80 games. The numbers don’t lie. Housley is hands down the best D-man in Sabres history, and that’s what ranks him 4th on my list.
3. Rick Martin
The second player on the French Connection comes in at number 3 on my list. Quebec born Rick Martin was a 5th overall pick by the Sabres in the 1971 draft and by no means did Martin disappoint. In his rookie campaign he recorded 74 points in 73 games. Martin ranks 2nd in team history with 382 goals, and was a sniper throughout his NHL career. Aside from being on the top line in team history, it was Martin’s goal scoring ability which puts him 3rd on my list.
2. Dominik Hasek
There is no doubt in my mind that Dominik Hasek is the best goalie in NHL history. During the 1998-99 season, Hasek put the team on his back and carried the Sabres all the way to the Stanley Cup finals. Hasek won numerous Vezina awards to go along with a couple of Heart trophies. There is no arguing Hasek’s position on my list.
1. Gilbert Perreault
The final player on the French Connection to be named on this list, is also the best player. Not only was Perreault the Sabres first draft pick in franchise history, he also spent his entire career with the blue and gold. Perreault is the franchise leader by far in goals, assists and points. Perreault was also a prolific playoff performer, recording 103 points in 90 career games. Perreault’s best season came in 1975-76 where he amassed 113 points. His offensive production was unmatched, and this is why Perrault ranks number one on my list.