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 47, which has been worn by just two players in Buffalo Sabres history.
One of those players is current NHLer Chris Thorburn, who played with the Sabres organization from 2003 until 2006 but ultimately spent just two games with the NHL club. Instead, he played mostly for the AHL’s Rochester Americans.
Thorburn, a Sault Ste. Marie native, was drafted by the Sabres in 2001, with the 50th overall pick. At the time, he was playing in the OHL with the North Bay Centennials, and he’d continue to play there for one more season after his draft. Thorburn would then split the 2002-03 season between the Plymouth Whalers and the Saginaw Spirit before jumping to the AHL in 2003.
His first season with the Amerks would see Thorburn put up six goals and 16 assists for 22 points in 58 games; he also had 77 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, he’d add five points and 18 penalty minutes in 16 games.
His second season — the NHL lockout year of 2004-05 — would see him rack up a career-high 185 penalty minutes in 73 games; he also had 12 goals and 17 assists. Thorburn added one point and two penalty minutes in four playoff games.
His final season with the Sabres organization would see Thorburn once again mostly in Rochester; he had 134 penalty minutes and 50 points (23-27) in 77 games. But he also saw the first NHL action of his career that year, appearing in two games with the Sabres. He had one assist and seven penalty minutes.
That was all for Chris Thorburn’s career with the Sabres organization. He played part of the 2006-07 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization before being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for a draft pick (Robert Bortuzzo).
He’s been with that organization ever since, first spending four years with Atlanta and then moving with the team to Winnipeg in 2011.
This past season, the 31-year-old had two goals, nine assists and 65 penalty minutes in 55 games with the Jets.
Other players to wear number 47 for the Sabres: Bill Houlder