The Buffalo Sabres have seen some outstanding defensemen in their 50-plus-year history. Who made the cut as the top five of all-time?
Ranking the top defensemen in Buffalo Sabres history, you are going to find players representative of many eras. Literally from the franchise’s founding in 1970 all the way to the modern day.
This list will start with naming five honorable mentions who also represent each era in team history over the Sabres first 50 seasons. Some of the mentions listed will be names you may think deserved a spot in the top five. But for one reason or another, they just missed the cut.
So who made honorable mention and who landed a spot in the top five? Keep reading to find out more.
Who are the greatest defensemen in Buffalo Sabres history? Honorable Mentions
A former ninth overall pick for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Bodger came to the Buffalo Sabres in 1988-89 and showed off both physicality and two-way tendencies. His best scoring season came in 1989-90, with 48 points, 12 goals, and 36 assists in 71 games. And though he never played in an All-Star Game, Bodger was a staple in the Queen City for eight seasons.
A former 33rd overall pick, Hajt spent his entire 14-year career with the Sabres. He never appeared in an All-Star Game, but he receive NHL All-Star considerations on four different occasions. He finished his career with a +/- of 320, which continues to rank among the top 25 in NHL history.
Zhitnik saw time in two NHL All-Star Games and he was an integral part of the Sabres deep layoff runs in the late 1990s. He was also arguably their most durable workhorse, having played in fewer than 70 games in a season just once while averaging 25:18 of total ice time per game.
John Van Boxmeer
Van Boxmeer contended for the Norris Trophy twice over his four seasons in Buffalo. He was also one of the best two-way players in team history, scoring 215 points, 49 goals, and 166 assists with the team over 294 games. In 1980-81, he scored 69 of those points and a career-high 18 goals.
Part of those early Sabres teams, Guevremont was yet another defenseman who showed flashes of two-way ability, evidenced by his 52 points in 1975-76. He also found himself in the 1974 All-Star Game and finished fourth with 172 total goals on-ice for in 1975-76.
Weber had a shorter career spanning just nine seasons and eight with the Buffalo Sabres. He is one player on this list you may not have considered to be great, but his overall tenacity landed him a spot as my sixth honorable mention. He is the type of player every one looks for on a lower defensive pairing, and it’s why I couldn’t continue this article without mentioning him first.