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.
On this second-to-last day of August, we move ahead to jersey number 61. It’s been worn by just one player in Sabres history: right winger Maxim Afinogenov. The Moscow-born forward was drafted by the Sabres 69th overall in 1997 and began his career in the United States in the 1999-2000 season.
That year saw Afinogenov appear in 65 games with the Sabres. He notched 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points in his rookie season. He also appeared in 15 games with the Rochester Americans in the lone AHL action of his career. He had 18 points in those 15 games and added another four points (1-3) in eight playoff games with the Amerks.
Maxim Afinogenov would end up playing nine seasons with the Sabres. Those seasons were full of energy, but also tainted with injury issues, including a 2002 concussion. Afinogenov was noted for his speed, though not particularly well-known for his consistency.
He finished his career with the Sabres having scored 334 points (134-200) in 569 regular season games with Buffalo. He also had 440 penalty minutes during that time. Finally, he added 23 points (10-13) in 49 playoff games with the Sabres.
After his time in Buffalo, Afinogenov spent one year with the Atlanta Thrashers before moving on to play overseas. Three seasons with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL (2010 – 2013) were plagued with injury, but he eventually went on to join HC Vityaz, which is where he spent this past season.
He had 26 points (12-14) and 69 penalty minutes in 53 regular season games. He also participated in the 2014 KHL All-Star Game.
So let’s hear it, Sabres fans – what are your favorite memories of Maxim Afinogenov’s time in Buffalo?
Other players to wear #61 for the Sabres: None.