We are a week and half away from the NHL draft and we are also nearing closer to the ultimate draft steal in Sabres history. I am very interested to hear what you think about the choices I have made and whether or not someone else may have been more worthy of the honor.
Derek Plante- 1989 (8th round, # 161 overall)
Derek Plante was a player who did pretty good things for a guy drafted in the eighth round of the draft. Most importantly he was clutch and scored a lot of really big goals for the Sabres. I will always remember his overtime goal in game seven against the Ottawa Senators, the one where Ted Nolan was jumping around on the bench.
After playing four seasons of NCAA hockey with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Plante immedaitely burst on the scene as a rookie with the Buffalo Sabres. In his rookie season Plante scored 21 goals with 35 assists for 56 points in 77 games played. Plante played 5 and a half seasons with the Sabres and he scored at least 20 goals three times.
His best season was 1996-1997, the final season of the Ted Nolan era in Buffalo. Plante scored a career high 27 goals and he had 26 assists for 56 points. Plante will always be known as a small guy with great offensive skills. Plante never did much after that season bouncing around a couple of other teams.
The Sabres played a much more defensive style when Lindy Ruff was first brought in as coach and Plante did not fit well in that system. He was traded on March 23, 1999 to the Dallas Stars, the team that eventually beat Buffalo in the Stanley Cup that year. In addition to Buffalo and Dallas he also played with the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers before finishing his career playing over in Europe.
I will always remember Plante for what he did in the playoffs in 1996-1997, when he scored four goals and six assists in 12 games. In addition he also scored the big goal against the Ottawa Senators in the first round.