We continue our series about Buffalo Sabres history, with each day’s post highlighting a player to have worn the subsequent jersey number with the Buffalo Sabres. This series is not designed to say that any player is the ‘best’ to have worn that jersey number, but rather to allow fans to get a taste of the team’s history and learn more about some of the players in it.
Today’s focus is on one of thirteen players to wear jersey number 34 in Sabres history. Let’s take a closer look at Montreal native, defenseman Jean-Luc Grand Pierre, who played with the Sabres organization from 1997 until 2000.
First, let’s wind back to 1995, when Grand-Pierre was drafted. He was selected not by the Sabres, but by the St. Louis Blues, 179th overall — though he’d never actually play a game with the Blues organization.
After the draft, Grand-Piere continued his junior hockey career with the QMJHL Val d’Or Foreurs.
In the midst of his final season in the Q, Grand-Pierre was traded to the Sabres on March 20, 1996. The Blues sent Grand-Pierre, along with a pair of draft picks (which would end up being Cory Sarich and Maxim Afinogenov). In exchange, St. Louis got Yuri Khmylev and an 8th round pick that would turn into Andrei Podkonicky.
After his final year in juniors, Grand-Pierre joined the Sabres organization, starting off with the Rochester Americans in 1997. In his first season in the AHL, the defenseman had 10 points and 211 penalty minutes in 75 games.
He split both of the next two seasons between Rochester and Buffalo. Between 1998 and 2000, Grand-Pierre appeared in 31 NHL games with the Sabres, notching one point and 36 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 134 games with the Amerks.
Eventually, June 23, 2000 came around, the day before the NHL draft. Grand-Pierre was sent to the Columbus Blue Jackets along with Matt Davidson and a pair of draft picks (Tyler Kolarik, Andreas Jamtin) for future considerations. The Blue Jackets agreed to select Geoff Sanderson and Dwayne Roloson in the expansion draft.
In 2003, Grand-Pierre was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers. He also played for the Washington Capitals before moving to play overseas in the 2004-05 season. Since then, he spent nine of ten seasons playing overseas.
He started off with Troja/Ljungby IF in Sweden, then spent two seasons in the DEL with the Duisburg Foxes and DEG Metro Stars. Grand-Pierre returned to North America to spend the 2007-08 season with the AHL’s Lowell Devils, but made his return to Europe the next season. He’s played with Leksands IF, TPS Turku, the Malmo Redhawks and most recently spent the 2012-13 season with Karlskrona HK.
Other players to wear #34 for the Sabres: Chris Butler, Mike Weber, Jeff Jillson, Peter Skudra, Mike Wilson, Gord Donnelly, David Littman, Lou Franceschetti, Darren Eliot, Scott Metcalfe, Jim Korn, Adam Creighton