By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 40: June 6, 1983 – The Sabres trade Tony McKegney, Andre Savard, J.F. Sauve and a third-round draft choice in 1983 (Iirvo Jarvi) to Quebec for Real Cloutier and a first-round draft choice in 1983 (Adam Creighton).
Real Cloutier was one of the great goal scorers in the history of the World Hockey Association. He had four straight 50-goal seasons there, including a 75-goal outburst in 1978-79. Cloutier wasn’t quite as productive when his Quebec Nordiques moved to the NHL, but he still displayed a good scoring touch.
As a division rival, the Sabres knew all about Cloutier’s talents. Coach Scotty Bowman used to unload a stream of verbal insults at Cloutier from the Buffalo bench during games between the teams. But that didn’t mean Bowman wouldn’t take him on his team, particularly since the Sabres could use a top scorer.
It all led to a major trade with the Nordiques, sending three veterans – Tony McKegney, Andre Savard and J.F. Sauve – to Quebec for Cloutier. It seemed like fate had a hand in the first-round matchup in the playoffs, when the two teams played each other. The Nordiques swept the series somewhat emphatically, as Savard had two goals while Sauve notched one. Cloutier went scoreless in the series, and it was downhill from there. He only played in five games for the Sabres the next season before disappearing from hockey. The Sabres’ 1984 loss in the postseason was the first in a series of such exits that lasted until 1993.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)