Richard Martin was not the first player to wear #7 for the Sabres, nor was he the last — but he is certainly the most well-known. It’s his name that hangs in the rafters of the First Niagara Center with #7, and today, it’s his legacy that we’ll look at.
Left Wing, b. 1951
Drafted by the Sabres, 1971
Martin, a native of Verdun, Quebec, joined the Sabres after three seasons with the OHA’s Montreal Junior Canadiens. He was the second player ever selected in the first round of the NHL draft by the Sabres. The first, of course, was his future linemate, Gilbert Perreault.
Martin made his NHL debut in the 1971-72 season and spent the majority of his NHL career with the Sabres.
Throughout his tenure with the Sabres, Martin put up 695 points in 681 regular season games, most of which he played on a line with Perreault and Robert. He scored 382 goals and 313 assists in regular season play with the Sabres. Martin also added 24 goals and 29 assists in 62 playoff games with Buffalo throughout his NHL career.
Of his 685 regular season NHL games, Martin played 681 of those in the blue and gold. He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings on March 10, 1981. The Sabres received two draft picks in return – they’d end up being Colin Chisholm and Tom Barrasso.
He played four games for the Kings in the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons, but other than that – it was all Buffalo.
Martin was inducted in the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 1989. His number was retired six years later, on November 15, 1995. Although Martin is now famously associated with #7, he also wore #8 and #9 during his time with the Sabres.
He’ll forever be remembered as part of the French Connection along with Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert, and his legacy will always remain enshrined in bronze as part of the statue at Alumni Plaza outside the First Niagara Center.