Dec 31, 2013; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Chris Thorburn (22) battles Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers (57) during the third period at MTS Centre. Winnipeg Jets win 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Sabres History: Who Wore It, Number 57

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 57, which has been worn by two players in Sabres history. Of course, Tyler Myers is the current resident in that number, having worn it since his start in Buffalo. But long before he was a thought in the Sabres universe, there was another player who (briefly) wore number 57 for Buffalo.

That player? Former NHLer Steve Heinze, who chose 57 as a clever play on Heinz Ketchup’s “57 Varieties.” He may not have been on the Sabres for very long, but let’s face it, the jersey number selection is at least good for a chuckle or two.

The Lawrence, MA native spent most of his playing career in Boston; first, with Boston College, then with the Bruins from 1991 until 2000.

He was drafted by Boston in 1988 with the 60th overall selection and spent a good chunk of NHL career there before moving on.

Heinze spent most of the 2000-2001 season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, notching 22 goals and 20 assists for 42 points in 65 games.

But on March 13, 2001, Heinze was shipped to Buffalo in exchange for a 2001 3rd-round draft pick (Per Mars). Just like that, after having spent nine seasons in Boston, he was on his third NHL team in a matter of a year.

But Heinze wasn’t in Buffalo for too long. He played just 14 regular season games with the Sabres, finishing out the 2000-2001 season. He had five goals and seven assists for 12 points in the Buffalo uniform.

He also appeared in 13 playoff games with the Sabres and racked up seven points (3-4) and 10 penalty minutes in that time.

After that postseason, the right winger moved on again, this time to the Los Angeles Kings organization. It was there he’d finish out his playing career, with one full season in LA and one season split between the Kings and their AHL affiliate in Manchester.

Overall, Heinze had 336 points in 694 regular season NHL games; he also had 26 points in 69 playoff games.

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