Photo: Melissa Kania

Who Is The Greatest Player in Buffalo Sabres History?

The Sabres are one of the recent teams that NHL on NBC Sports Network has been discussing lately. The network has been putting out a question on Twitter every day, asking who the best player in each NHL franchise’s history is, according to the fan vote.

Naturally, the question posed received a number of responses, some more serious than others.  Either way, it brings up a good question, so let’s put it out there – who is the greatest player in Buffalo Sabres franchise history?

It seems like most people feel there’s two frontrunners for this vote: Dominik Hasek and Gilbert Perreault.

For me, Perreault is the player I instantly think of when someone mentions the Sabres. He’s historically linked to the team and his number is retired by Buffalo as part of the infamous French Connection line. He’s a well-known player, he’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame, and he is, in my mind, Mr. Sabre, if you’ll allow that nickname for a minute.

But many also give Hasek the claim to the greatest player in Sabres franchise history. He was spectacular in his time in Buffalo, set many records, won several league awards and definitely hit the best and biggest stretch of his career during his time with the Sabres.

So let’s make a case for both of them, and then you be the judge. Is one of these two the greatest player in Sabres history? Are there any other players you make a case for instead?

Perreault is, by all means, the original Sabre. He was the team’s first draft pick in 1970 and led the team with 72 points in his rookie season.

He had the first hat trick in franchise history, on January 29, 1971 against California. He had 18 hat tricks in his career with Buffalo, second-most in franchise history. Nearly every year, he led the Sabres in goals, assists, or points.

He’s the Sabres career leader in several categories, including games played (1,191), goals (512) and assists (814). He has the most shots of any player in franchise history (3,079) and still holds many franchise records to this day.

Will there ever be a player with the caliber of Gil Perreault? His 17 seasons of service with the Sabres are the most of any player in franchise history, and he’ll always be the player I think of whenever anyone mentions the Sabres.

Of course, Dominik Hasek also had an incredible career with the Sabres.

He played with the Sabres from 1992 until 2001 and set several franchise records during that time, some of which have since been broken by Ryan Miller.

He’s the all-time Sabres leader in shutouts (55) and is second in games played for goaltenders (491), wins (234) and minutes played (28,664). He has the best single-season save percentage in franchise history (.937, in 1998-99), lowest goals-against average (1.87, 1998-99).

Hasek’s career with the Sabres included several NHL awards, including two Hart Memorial Trophies and two Lester B. Pearson Awards, six Vezina Trophies, two William M. Jennings Trophies and five All-Star Game nominations.

One of the things that I noticed people commenting about Hasek is that he didn’t spend his entire career with the Sabres; should that deter people from calling him the greatest player in franchise history? His time in Buffalo was certainly the prime of his career – just look at the number of awards he won with Buffalo and how few he won once he left the team. His impact on the Sabres was a tremendous one and he was certainly a key player during his time in Buffalo.

You could make an argument for either player — so which one would you pick?

Who is the best player in Buffalo Sabres history?

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Tags: Buffalo Sabres Dominik Hasek Gilbert Perreault

  • Alex Janus

    Since the question is “best player” you have to pick the player who is debatably the best player to lace up at that position for any team..Which is Hasek..Even though Perreault meant more to the franchise, and whose name is forever paired with the Sabres

    • Sabres4Life

      Hasek’s name will forever be paired with Buffalo also.

      • Alex Janus

        Right, I meant more that Perreault is “Mr. Sabre” as referred to in the article

      • Dano

        Not so much as he went to the Redwings and won a cup there. ‘ No Goal ‘ stopped him from doing it in Buffalo. Fair or not, His Detroit days will be remembered by ‘ all ‘, not just those of us in Buffalo. :(

        • Sabres4Life

          Not so much? Seriously? When Hasek comes to mind everyone thinks Buffalo Sabres. Had the Sabres ownership given him an actual team through his years in Buffalo we’d have 2-4 Stanley Cups right now. His Buffalo days will be remembered by all. 2 Hart trophy’s back to back for a goalie is unheard of. No one will ever do that again. 6 Vezina’s is pretty damn impressive. When people think of Stanley Cup and Domnik Hasek they’ll either think Red Wings or No Goal. That will be the only time the Red Wings will pop into peoples minds. Other then that it will always be SABRES.

  • Timothy Redinger

    The simple fact that Hasek had his records broken by Ryan Miller; makes me want to lean on Gilbert Perreault. Different players, different times, hell even a different game. I think Perreault had something magic though. Perreault did however have the added benefit of other all stars that he was playing with. Hasek not so much.

    • Mike Flynn

      Remember tho that hasek played when there were still ties in the nhl so I think that has to be factored in to the record thing and hasek is arguably the best goalie ever in the nhl so he gets my vote hands down

    • Sabres4Life

      Miller actually had a team in front of him. Look at what Hasek had to deal with.

  • Kevin

    The question is; which one could do it all by himself, win a game all by himself? The answer would have to be Hasek.

    • wolfdoctor

      Any goalie can win a game all by himself.

  • Joe

    Pat lafontaine

    Averaged almost 2 ppg in his career eith buffalo. If it werent for injuries he would have been one of the top players of all time

    • wolfdoctor

      1.44 ppg with Buffalo is not almost 2 ppg.

  • Sabres4Life

    Hasek hands down. Guy did it all on a nightly basis with little to no help. Gilbert had the French connection but Hasek had the likes of Grosek and McKee. IMO the best goalie of all time. He didn’t have the help that Roy and Brodeur had in their careers either. Should have a statue of Hasek outside the FNC

  • davidmuscalo

    I voted other: Hasek is the greatest defensive player, and Perrault is the greatest offensive player.

    • Sabres4Life

      That may be but we are looking for the best OVERALL talent.

  • Dano

    2 names get put out there and a LOT of history is lost.

    “Who Is The Greatest Player in Buffalo Sabres History?”

    Perreault is on the record for Goals, Assists, games played.. What about ‘ other ‘ areas? His +/- rating isnt even in the top 10. He was a one dimensional player. Not saying that as a bad thing, but it should be considered.

    Dave Andreychuk is up there in stats. Craig Ramsey was a +328 over his time in Buffalo followed only by Bill Hajt ( Hit em with your purse Hajt! ) at +321 . Both would be incredible numbers in todays standards.

    Craig Ramsey also was a short handed specialist with 27 short handed goals.

    So many names come to mind. Danny Gare, Don Luce..

    One of the Greatest players ( to me ) will always be Jim Schoenfeld. When he put Cashman through the boards then beat his ass down the isleway.. just taking it to Boston that game and not backing down from them. ;)