Recently there has been a lot of discussion about who are the top 3 most talented Buffalo Sabres of all time. Here at Sabre Noise we thought we’d give making a list a slapshot.
Throughout the Buffalo Sabres illustrious history, there have been many skillful players to grace the blue and gold. Trying to separate three from the rest is an awfully difficult task, but let’s go ahead and give it a stab. Here are the top 3 Buffalo Sabres all time, ranked by skill.
There are two honorable mentions. First is Jack Eichel. Obviously Eichel is an extremely skilled hockey player, but he simply hasn’t played long enough to truly be considered for this list. Ten years down the road, expect that to change, but for now Eichel sits on the outside looking in. The second is Pat LaFontaine. LaFontaine not making the list is going to be unpopular, and Pat was certainly a very close #4. LaFontaine was a very skilled offensive hockey player and is a Hall of Famer for good reason. But on this list he just missed the call.
#3 Alexander Mogilny
Alex Mogilny‘s number would likely be in the rafters of the KeyBank Center had he played with the Sabres longer than he had. The Russians time in the blue and gold was pretty special, Mogilny has over 200 goals in his 6 years in Buffalo including a 1992-93 campaign where he had 76 goals with 51 assists. Asinine numbers no matter how you look at it.
Still, this is based purely off of skill and Mogilny certainly didn’t lack in that department. Mogilny had elusive skating abilities paired with phenomenal puck control and a wide arsenal of shots, Mogilny wasn’t an easy man to stop. What made Mogilny truly special was his hockey IQ, he knew when to slow the game down and make an accurate pass, as well as how to position himself to get takeaways and turn defense into offense.
#2 Gilbert Perreault
Gilbert Perreault, the Sabres first ever draft selection. Over 17 years gracing the blue and gold at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, Perreault scored over 500 goals and had over 800 assists. Perreault led the Sabres twice to the Stanley Cup Finals and had numerous all star appearances and top 10 finishes in the Hart Memorial Trophy voting.
As far as skill goes, there’s a good reason the Sabres used their first ever draft selection on Perreault. Perreault had a sweet shot and could score goals, but was a truly exceptional passer of the puck. Throughout his career with the French Connection including Rene Robert and Rick Martin, Perreault was able to rake in the assists. For Perreault though, much like the aforementioned Mogilny, he had incredible hockey IQ which set him apart from his peers at the time.
#1 Dominik Hasek
Oh brother, we are NOT worthy. Did you have any doubt who was going to be #1 on this list when you clicked the link? Dominik Hasek is arguable the G.O.A.T. of goalies and his career in Buffalo was nothing but greatness. In 9 years he won the Vezina Trophy for top goaltender 6 times, and twice won the Hart Memorial Trophy for best player in the league. In Buffalo, Hasek had 55 shutouts, a 2.22 GAA and a save percentage of .926.
But this list isn’t about stats (if it was Hasek would’ve won that too), it’s about skill. Hasek played in net like nobody else in the history of the game. An unorthodox style, Hasek used every part of his body, not excluding the head, to make saves. Hasek was also known for his extreme flexibility. Hasek would drop to the ground on every shot and flop around to make saves. Hasek also would routinely use drop his stick and use his stick hand to make saves, where other goalies would try and use their glove hand. The skills Hasek had in net were very unique and unmatched and that’s why he’s number one.
That’s the list, do you like our picks or think we missed out on someone? Let us know in the comments!