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 takes us to jersey number 51. Defenseman Brian Campbell hasn’t played a game for the Sabres since February 2008, but even to this day, he remains the only player in Sabres history to wear jersey number 51. He’s moved on from Buffalo and currently plays for the Florida Panthers, but there are a few key memories I’ll always think of in regards to Campbell, notably his crushing hit on RJ Umberger.
Campbell was drafted by the Sabres in 1997, with the 156th overall selection. He came out of the Ottawa 67’s organization and began the next phase of his career with the Rochester Americans in 1999.
The first few years of his career with the Sabres organization would see Campbell move back and forth between Rochester and Buffalo, until he had a full-time spot on the NHL club for the 2002-03 season.
Campbell would stay with the Sabres until February 26, 2008, when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for Steve Bernier and a 2008 1st-rounder that would turn out to be current Sabres center Tyler Ennis.
Overall, Campbell appeared in 391 regular season games with the Sabres between 1999 and 2008. He had 32 goals, 144 assists, 113 penalty minutes and was overall a minus-7 in his time with Buffalo. He also had 95 points (11-84) and 59 penalty minutes in 177 regular season games with the Amerks between 1999 and 2002.
He wouldn’t be in San Jose long, however — he played just 20 games there, plus an additional 13 in the postseason.
He then joined the Chicago Blackhawks for three seasons from 2008 until 2011. Campbell’s time with the Blackhawks saw him win the first Stanley Cup of his career in 2010.
But after three seasons in Chicago, he was on the move again; this time, he was traded to the Florida Panthers in exchange for Rostislav Olesz.
Campbell’s been in Florida ever since. This past season, he had seven goals and 30 assists in 82 games with the Panthers. The 35-year-old will return to Florida for his 12th full NHL season in October.
What’s your favorite Brian Campbell memory? Is it the infamous Umberger hit, or another fabled tale?