Monday, January 4, 2021

All-Time Teams: Sabres

Today we'll look at the franchise with the longest active streak of non-playoff seasons. Here's the All-Time Roster for the Buffalo Sabres:

The Sabres lost the 1975 Stanley Cup Final to the "Broad Street Bullies" from Philadelphia. They lost the 1999 final in a controversial Game 6 against the the Dallas Stars.

1st Line

Left Wing - Dave Andreychuk The NHL's all-time leader in power play goals, Andreychuk ranks third in Sabres history with 368 total goals. The Hall of Famer is second in team annals in assists and points.

Center - Gilbert Perreault Buffalo's first-ever draft pick and first overall in 1970, Perreault is the Sabres' standard-bearer in career games played, goals, assists, points, and game-winning goals.

Right Wing - Alexander Mogilny Trailblazing Russian star played just six seasons in Buffalo and does not rank in the team's top ten in any major category. However, he's third in Sabres history with 0.55 goals per game and second with 1.17 points per game.

2nd Line

Left Wing - Rick Martin The second-leading goal scorer in Sabres history, Martin (pronounced Mar-tan) posted back-to-back 50-goal seasons in 1974 and 1975, followed by a 49-goal campaign in 1975-76. He's third in team history with 695 total points.

- Jack Eichel The second overall pick in the 2015 draft, Eichel has already cracked the Sabres' all-time top 20 in goals and points. He's scored 24 or more goals in each of his five seasons with the Sabres and set a career high with 36 markers in the Covid-shortened 2019-20 season. Eichel won the Hobey Baker award as College hockey's top player in his Freshman season.

Right Wing - René Robert The Sabres' leading scorer in 1974-75, Robert ranks sixth in team history with 552 career points. His 330 assists for the Sabres rank fifth in franchise annals. Forever linked to his "French Connection" linemates Perreault and Martin, the Sabres retired their numbers à trois.

3rd Line

Left Wing - Thomas Vanek A two-time 40-goal scorer, Vanek led the NHL in plus/minus in 2006-07 and topped the league with 20 power-play goals in 2008-09. The fifth overall pick in 2003 is fifth in Sabres' annals with 254 goals.

- Derek Roy Roy (pronounced Roy) squeaks into the Sabres' all-time top ten with 264 assists, two ahead of Mike Foligno. His 427 career points rank him 12th in team history and third among Sabres centers.

Right Wing - Danny Gare The NHL's leading goal-scorer in 1979-80, Gare ranks fourth in Sabres history with 267 tallies. His +187 rating for the team is fifth in franchise history, and his 500 total points (in 503 games) for Buffalo rank tenth in team annals.

4th Line

Left Wing - Craig Ramsay Only Gilbert Perreault suited up for the Sabres more than Ramsay, who played all 1,070 of his career games for the franchise. He ranks third in team history with 420 assists and fourth with 672 total points. A three-time runner-up for the Selke trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward, Ramsay finally won the award in his last NHL season of 1984-85.

- Don Luce Two-way center ranks seventh in Sabres history in games played, assists, and points. His +214 rating is fourth-best in Sabres history. Only Craig Ramsay tallied more short-handed goals for Buffalo than Luce, who scored two fewer in 300 fewer games.

Right Wing - Jason Pominville Right behind Luce on the team's assists and points list is the mayor of Pominville, who also ranks eighth in Sabres annals with 733 games played. An exceptionally clean player, "Pommer" posted five seasons of single-digit penalty minutes.


The Sabres are incredibly deep at right wing. I would have liked to include Rob Ray (who ranks sixth in NHL history with 3,207 penalty minutes) but I couldn't justify adding him over Satan or Foligno. The former is eighth among Sabres with 224 goals (and fifth in era-adjusted goals) while the latter tallied the ninth-most points and the second-most penalty minutes in team history. Taro Tsujimoto just missed the cut.


Defense Pair 1

Hall of Famer Phil Housley ranks second in NHL history among American-born players with 1,232 career points. His 558 points while with Buffalo rank fifth in team annals. Hajt is first in Sabres history with 64.8 Defensive Point Shares, second in plus/minus, and fifth in games played. 

Defense Pair 2

Korab posted five consecutive seasons of over 40 points from 1975 to 1979. He ranks tenth in team history with 870 penalty minutes and his 33.3 career DPS is tied for seventh among Sabres. Schoenfeld, the youngest captain in Sabres history until Jack Eichel earned the 'C', ranks third in franchise annals with a 45.5 DPS and seventh with 1,025 penalty minutes. His +60 rating led the NHL in 1979-80.

Defense Pair 3

Bodger ranks fourth among Sabres defensemen with 287 points in 479 games. Ramsey, a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, ranks sixth among all Sabres with a +166 rating and second with a Defensive Point Shares rating of 58.2. His 911 games with the franchise are third all-time behind Gilbert Perreault and Craig Ramsay.

Spare - Alexei Zhitnik

Alexei Zhitnik is ninth in Sabres history with 712 games played and fourth in DPS with 36. Lindy Ruff had a strong case to make this team as a player, but there are enough quality options to let him focus on coaching. I also considered Larry (doesn't) Playfair, who has the same amount of DPS as Jerry Korab and ranks third on the Sabres' all-time list with 1,392 penalty minutes.



Starter - Dominik Hasek

Backup - Ryan Miller

"The Dominator" is on the short list of greatest goaltenders in NHL history. Hasek won six Vezina trophies, three Jennings trophies, and two Hart trophies as league MVP - a rare feat for a goaltender. His save percentage, goals against average, and shutout totals are tops in team history. Miller, the winningest American-born goalie in NHL history, played more games and earned more wins than any Sabres goalie. He's two victories away from tying Hasek for 14th on the NHL's all-time list.

Head Coach: Lindy Ruff  Captain: Gilbert Perreault

The new bench boss of the Devils, Lindy Ruff coached twice as many seasons and nearly three times more games for Buffalo than the second-most accomplished coach in Sabres history, Scotty Bowman. Bowman has been named head coach of an original six franchise's All-Time Team.

I hope you'll join us tomorrow for our next All-Time Team, the Calgary Flames.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Damn right they lost to the Flyers. No Lady Byng Trophies for Dave Schultz. Had to settle for getting his name on the Stanley Cup twice.

    Satan should be on the first line, even if he pronounces it wrong. It's just too bad ass a name to be a back-up.

  2. My team!

    It's weird not to see Foligno in the top four lines. It's also weird to see Mogilny on the top line, his time with them was so short.

    Hasek is my favorite NHL player ever.

    1. I often favor longevity but Mogilny was just so brilliant in Buffalo.

  3. Ah, the French Connection. I miss the days when lines had nicknames. Are there any in the NHL today? If not, is it because the players don't stay together very long? The last one I remember was the Flyers' Crazy 8s line of Lindros, Fedyk, and Recchi.

    I think when most people think of Jim Schoenfeld, they think of "Have another donut, you fat pig". But he also recorded an album of rock songs (three Beatles songs, "All Along The Watchtower", and "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" by the late lamented Gerry Marsden) that stands alongside Shatner and Nimoy for ill-advised celebrity singing.

    Hasek was amazing. The way he carried the Czech team to gold in the 1988 Olympics over the amazingly loaded teams from the bigger hockey powers was unforgettable.

    1. I can't think of any famous lines anymore. None with cool names anyway. Hasek was unreal in the '98 Olympics - and the '99 playoffs.

  4. What are the odds that a team would have a Ramsay and a Ramsey next to each other on the all time lists? They are from my home state so I do support them, but they are so far away that I don't get their local broadcasts.

  5. I had no idea Doug Bodger had the career to make an All-Time team. That's pretty cool. He was a SJ Shark for a few years, but don't really remember him being the kind of player who racked up points. On the other hand, my hockey interest peaked in the 90's, so I'm very familiar with Hasek and Mogilny. And when I returned to collecting in the late 2000's... I started a Ryan Miller collection for his contributions to Team USA.

  6. Great list! I can't argue with a single player, although I wish you had the French Connection all on the same line. That's more esthetics than ranking by greatness though. Sabres fans have been blessed with watching great goaltending...

  7. Back in the mid-90s I played a lot of NHL on the Playstation with my roommate in the old college pad. Randomly looking for a team to get demolished I came across the Sabres and Miroslav. They became my team to lose with, pronouncing Sabres like it sounds and making my roommate bow to Satan if I somehow scored a goal against him. Ah, good times.

    1. Ha, i played Breakaway with a friend that didn't follow hockey and he asked me for an under-the-radar team to control. I told him to pick Buffalo for Hasek & Peca.

  8. Yeesh, Hasek and Miller as a goaltending tandem. Good luck scoring. On offense, it'd be fun to see what Perreault could do with Andreychuk and Mogilny on the wings. Same for Eichel with Martin and Robert. That third line is pretty solid, too. Nice additions of Mike Ramsey and Alexei Zhitnik on defense. Ramsey was underrated by many.

    I think this team might surprise a few other all-time teams.

  9. I'll echo Fuji's comment, I had no idea Bodger would make one of these teams. Korab too, I'm embarrassed to say! Defensemen just don't get the love.

    1. Most of the players I wasnt familiar with before this project are/were defensemen (or non-star forwards from the '60s/'70s.)