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 post takes us to jersey number 35, which has been worn by seven players in Sabres history. It’s a bit of an odd case, in that all of the players who have worn that number in the team’s history have been goaltenders, from Daren Puppa to (most recently) Jocelyn Thibault.
Today, we focus on Mika Noronen.
Noronen, now 35, was drafted by the Sabres in 1997 with the 21st overall selection. He now plays overseas, and nearly all his prior experience in North America was with the Sabres organization.
Noronen joined the Rochester Americans for the 1999-2000 season after four seasons with Tappara Tampere (SM-liiga). He played 54 games with the Amerks that season, playing alongside Martin Biron and Kirk Daubenspeck, among others. He made his NHL debut with the Sabres in the 2000-2001 season, but spent several seasons back and forth between the AHL and NHL clubs.
He made his NHL debut with the Sabres in the 2000-2001 season, but spent several seasons back and forth between the AHL and NHL clubs.
Throughout the years, he played 167 games with the Amerks and 67 games with the Sabres. He had an average GAA of 2.534 in the AHL and 2.94 at the NHL level and was with the Sabres organization until March 9, 2006.
That day, Noronen was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2nd-round pick in the 2006 NHL Draft.
Any guesses as to who that draft pick turned out to be?
…. okay, fine, I’ll tell you. It was none other than current Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth.
Noronen split the 2005-06 season between Buffalo, Rochester, and eventually, Vancouver, before deciding to take his talents overseas.
Since then, he’s played in Russia, Switzerland, Germany and Sweden and is still actively playing at the age of 35.
This past season, Noronen played 16 games with Davos of the Swiss-A league and also appeared in five games with Munich EHC of the DEL.