Michael Peca didn’t begin or end his NHL career with the Sabres, but he did spend a solid few seasons in Buffalo, including some time as captain of the team.
Center, b. 1974
Acquired by the Sabres via trade, 1995
Prior to his NHL time, the Toronto native was playing in the OHL. He played for the Sudbury Wolves and Ottawa 67s, also playing nine games with the Hamilton Canucks. Peca, originally a 1992 draft pick of the Canucks, split the 1994-95 season between the Syracuse Crunch and the Canucks.
Peca came to the Sabres on July 8, 1995, as part of a package deal with the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver got Alexander Mogilny and a 1995 5th-round pick (Todd Norman), while Buffalo got Peca, Michael Wilson and a 1995 1st-rounder (Jay McKee).
Peca would spend all of the next five seasons with the Sabres; that would be the most time he’d spend with any NHL club during his career. He had 31 points (11-20) in 68 games during his first season with the Sabres, His point production went up from there, as he scored 49 points the next season. His best offensive season with the Sabres was 1998-99, when he had 27 goals – an NHL career-high – and 29 assists for 56 points in 82 games. That’d also mark the lone season of his NHL career that he appeared in all 82 games.
After Peca’s career with the Sabres ended, he went on to play three seasons with the New York Islanders, putting up 60 points in his first season with the team. He’d stay with the Isles under they traded him to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Mike York and a 2006 conditional pick. Peca spent one season in Edmonton; he went on to also play for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets before hanging up the skates after the 2008-09 season. Peca wrapped up his NHL career with 864 regular season NHL games played.
Peca spent the last two seasons coaching the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the OJHL. Peca will now hold the position of Director of Hockey Operations for the entire Jr. Sabres organization, with former Sabres player John Tucker taking over as coach. In addition to his overarching managerial position, Peca will remain general manager of the U-20 Junior Sabres.