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All-Time “HE Played for the Buffalo Sabres?” Team

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Remembering those notable players who made a brief appearance with the Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo Sabres v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

One of the fun quarantine-era bits going around sports Twitter nowadays is compiling a roster of players for a team who people are apt to forget ever suited up for that team. With that in mind, I thought it’d be fun to take a crack at this for the Buffalo Sabres.

I set out to put together my team, with the following parameters: I’d pick enough players to compile a standard team - four forward lines, three defense pairings and two goaltenders. Players appeared in 10 or fewer regular-season games with the Buffalo Sabres, which means many may not remember or even know that they ever skated in the blue and gold (or in some cases, the black and red).

Overall, 67 skaters and 18 goaltenders meet the criteria. Without further ado, here’s my all-time “Wait, HE played for the Sabres?” team.

Forwards

Bob Errey - Dave McLlwain - Mark Parrish

James Black - Joe Juneau - Joel Armia

Jere Gillis - Paul Gardner - Chris Thorburn

Val James - Scott Nichol - Wayne Simmonds

Defense

Reed Larson - Grant Jennings

Doug Janik - Mark Renaud

Dale Degray - Jean-Guy Lagace

Goaltenders

Bob Essensa - Phil Myre

Why Him?

Alright, now that you’ve seen the roster, a quick breakdown of each player:

  • Joe Juneau: 828 NHL games, 572 points (156-416) — 9 games for the Sabres in 1998-99
  • Wayne Simmonds: 909 NHL games, 499 points (251-248) — 7 games for the Sabres in 2019-20
  • Paul Gardner: 447 NHL games, 402 points (201-201) — 2 games for the Sabres in 1985-86
  • Mark Parrish: 722 NHL games, 387 points (216-171) — 2 games for the Sabres in 2010-11
  • Bob Errey: 895 NHL games, 382 points (170-212) — 8 games for the Sabres in 1992-93
  • Dave McLlwain: 501 NHL games, 207 points (100-107) — 5 games for the Sabres in 1991-92
  • Jere Gillis: 386 NHL games, 173 points (78-95) — 3 games for the Sabres in 1982-83
  • Chris Thorburn: 801 NHL games, 134 points (53-81) — 2 games for the Sabres in 2005-06
  • Scott Nichol: 662 NHL games, 127 points (56-71) — 5 games for the Sabres between 1995-98
  • James Black: 352 NHL games, 115 points (58-57) — 2 games for the Sabres in 1993-94
  • Joel Armia: 295 NHL games, 111 points (55-56) — 1 game for the Sabres in 2014-15
  • Val James: 11 NHL games, 0 points — 7 games for the Sabres in 1981-82 (although James never registered an NHL point, his off-ice contributions to the hockey world are particularly notable, as he was the first black American to play in the NHL.)

On defense...

  • Reed Larson: 904 NHL games, 685 points (222-463) — 1 game for the Sabres in 1989-90
  • Grant Jennings: 389 NHL games, 57 points (14-43) — 6 games for the Sabres in 1995-96
  • Jean-Guy Lagace: 197 NHL games, 48 points (9-39) — 3 games for the Sabres in 1970-71
  • Doug Janik: 190 NHL games, 19 points (3-16) — 10 games for the Sabres between 2002-04
  • Dale Degray: 153 NHL games, 65 points (18-47) — 6 games for the Sabres in 1989-90
  • Mark Renaud: 152 NHL games, 56 points (6-50) — 10 games for the Sabres in 1983-84

And in goal...

  • Bob Essensa: 446 NHL games, 173-176-47 record, 3.15 GAA — 9 games for the Sabres in 2001-02
  • Phil Myre: 439 NHL games, 149-198-76 record, 3.53 GAA — 5 games for the Sabres in 1982-83

Although none of these players made too significant a contribution during their brief playing time with the Sabres, they generally had a decent NHL career overall. (And for the few active players on this list, such as Armia and Simmonds, well, we’ll just see what the future holds.)

Some of the other players who didn’t make the cut for my final roster: Mikael Tellqvist, Robb Stauber, Timo Jutila, Ron Busniuk, Joel Savage, Cole Schneider, Joe Finley and Dean Sylvester. You can check out the full list of skaters here at NHL.com and goaltenders here.