Today, we look at another one of the very famous members of the French Connection line for the Buffalo Sabres: #14, Rene Robert. Although other players have worn the number in team history, none are more famous than the centerman who played on a line with Gilbert Perreault and Rick Martin for a good portion of his NHL career.
Center, b. 1948
Acquired via trade from Pittsburgh, 1972
Years before he was a member of the Sabres, Rene Robert played for a number of other teams. A brief list: Tulsa Oilers (CHL), Rochester Americans (AHL), Vancouver Canucks (WHL), Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)…. then back to the Tulsa Oilers and off to the Phoenix Roadrunners (WHL).
Eventually, on June 8, 1971, Buffalo claimed Robert from Toronto in the Intra-League Draft. That same day, however, Pittsburgh claimed Robert from the Sabres, in the same draft.
Thus, he spent part of one season with the Penguins, appearing in 49 games with them. He scored 18 points in that stretch before his transition to the Sabres began on March 4, 1972. Robert was traded to Buffalo by the Penguins in exchange for Eddie Shack.
He had five hat tricks in his career with the Sabres, including three in the 1976-77 season. Robert is sixth in all-time points scoring in franchise history (552). He’s in good company — who’s ahead of him? Gilbert Perreault, Dave Andreychuk, Rick Martin, Craig Ramsay and Phil Housley. He’s also fifth in franchise history with 330 career assists and ninth in goals (222), and once had a 60-assist season.
He holds the franchise records for most assists by a right winger in a single season (60) and in his career (330), and also holds the record for most points by a right winger (552). Robert is also tied for the Sabres franchise record of shots on goal in a game, with 12 on April 1, 1976 against Boston.
On October 5, 1979, the Sabres traded Robert to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for John Van Boxmeer. Then, on January 30, 1981, the Rockies traded Robert to Toronto in exchange for a 3rd round draft pick. He finished off his playing career with the Maple Leafs in the 1981-82 season.
Here’s a fun fact for you: before Rick Martin, Robert wore the famed #7. He also wore #23 in his time with the Sabres. His number 14 was retired by the Sabres on November 15, 1995, six years after he was inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame.
In total, Robert played 524 regular season games and 47 playoff games with the Sabres. He notched 552 regular season points (222 goals, 330 assists) and 39 playoff points as a member of the Buffalo organization.