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.
Only four players have suited up under jersey number 36 for the Buffalo Sabres in team history, including current Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta. Can you name the other three?
The first was forward Jan Ludvig, who played 26 games with the Sabres between 1987 and 1989. Then there’s Darcy Loewen, who appeared in 12 games with the Sabres between 1989 and 1992 and also played for the Rochester Americans. Aside from Kaleta, the other to suit up with #36 was tough guy Matthew Barnaby.
Barnaby was, by all means, an enforcer. His NHL career from 1992 until 2007 saw him rack up 2,562 penalty minutes in 834 NHL games. He spent time with seven NHL clubs, starting with Buffalo, and was certainly the “tough guy” presence on the team back in the day.
Barnaby was drafted out of the QMJHL in 1992 and started his tenure with the Sabres organization by appearing in two games with the Sabres during the 1992-93 season. Despite only playing in two games, he already managed to start up his reputation, getting 5-minute major penalties in both games and getting four penalty minutes in his lone playoff game.
His first full season with the organization would be the 1993-94 year, which saw him split between Rochester and Buffalo. He had 153 penalty minutes in 42 AHL games and 106 penalty minutes in 35 NHL games.
This was a trend throughout Barnaby’s career – lots of penalties.
His highest was the 1995-96 season, which saw him rack up 335 penalty minutes in 73 games with the Sabres.
His career with the Sabres would come to an end on March 11, 1999, when Barnaby was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Stu Barnes. Barnaby’s tenure with the Sabres organization saw him score 126 points and rack up 1,248 penalty minutes in 317 regular season games with the team. He had 79 penalty minutes and 18 points in 27 playoff games with Buffalo as well. He was loved but despised during his time in Buffalo for his enforcer and “tough guy” role.
He also had 92 points and 427 penalty minutes in 98 games with the Rochester Americans.
After the trade to Pittsburgh, Barnaby would stay there for the remainder of the 1998-99 season, then play another year and a half there before being traded to Tampa Bay on February 1, 2001 for Wayne Primeau. Ten months and eleven days later, he was on the move again — this time to the New York Rangers, in exchange for Zdeno Ciger.
After three seasons with the Rangers, Barnaby was traded once again, this time to the Colorado Avalanche with a draft pick in exchange for Chris McAllister, a draft pick and the rights to David Liffiton. He played just 24 games with the Avalanche in the 2003-04 season. After the lockout year, Barnaby spent a season with the Chicago Blackhawks before finishing out his playing career with the Dallas Stars.
The past few years have been rocky for Barnaby, who was arrested twice in 2011 for a domestic incident and DWI. He’s previously been an analyst on ESPN and now is a radio host and occasional TV analyst. He can be found on Twitter @MattBarnaby3636.
Other players to wear #36 for the Sabres: Patrick Kaleta, Darcy Loewen, Jan Ludvig