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Buffalo Sabres History: Who Wore It, Number 21

Mike Hurlbut, a native of Massena, New York, spent much of his hockey-playing career in the AHL, though he also a little bit of NHL experience with the Sabres and Rangers.

Defense, b. 1966
Signed as a free agent with the Sabres, 1997

After four years of college hockey at St. Lawrence University, Hurlbut began his pro career in the IHL, with the Denver Rangers in the 1988-89 season. The next four seasons would see him flip back and forth between the IHL and AHL with various teams: the Flint Spirits, Binghamton Rangers and San Diego Gulls.

It wasn’t until the 1992-93 season that he’d see his first NHL action with the New York Rangers, appearing in 23 games and notching nine points (1-8) in that stretch. He’d then be traded to the Quebec Nordiques. On September 7, 1993, he was traded by the Rangers to the Nordiques in exchange for Alexander Karpovtsev.

Hurlbut played just one game with Quebec, spending most of that season – and all of the next – with the AHL’s Cornwall Aces.

The next few years would be more time spent in the IHL, this time with the Houston Aeros and Minnesota Moose. He didn’t come to the Sabres organization until the 1997-98 season, where he joined the Rochester Americans for 45 games, in which he scored 10 goals and 20 assists. Hurlbut also played three games with the Sabres that season but failed to make his mark on the scoresheet.

Hurlbut played for the Rochester Americans from 1997 until 2002, serving as captain for part of that time and becoming the longest-serving captain in Amerks franchise history. During that time, he also appeared in five games for the Sabres, but never scoring an NHL goal with the Buffalo club.

Overall, his NHL career saw him appear in just 29 regular season games, but his impact with the Rochester Americans was a significant one. The Amerks honored Hurlbut by inducting him into their hall of fame this past January.

After his playing career ended, Hurlbut served as an assistant, then associate, coach at St. Lawrence University from 2002 until 2013.

Other Sabres to wear #21: Drew Stafford, Radoslav Hecl, Mark Astley, Scott Thomas, Christian Ruuttu, Richie Dunn, Claude Verret, J.F. Sauve, Dave Schultz, Ron Schock, Brian Spencer, Ron Busniuk, John Gould, Hugh Harris, Terry Ball, Larry Mickey, Larry Keenan, Paul Andrea, Jean-Guy Lagace

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