By Budd Bailey
Rob McClanahan of the Sabres
Taken in Round 3 in 1978
The next pick: Defenseman Glen Cochrane was a much different player than McClanahan. The Flyers’ selection finished with 1,556 penalty minutes in 411 games.
Other pick in the round: Stan Smyl might have been the best player in the bunch. The Vancouver winger had 262 goals in 896 career NHL games.
The details: McClanahan had an impact on the Sabres just by walking through the locker room door for the first time. He was fresh off winning a gold medal in the Olympics in Lake Placid, and was added to a 1980 Sabre team that had a chance of making some noise in the playoffs. Rob helped Buffalo reach the semifinals that season, and then spent most of 1980-81 in Buffalo. But Hartford claimed him on waivers the following autumn. McClanahan’s peak came in 1982-83 (22 goals, 26 assists) with the Rangers and Olympic coach Herb Brooks, yet he was out of hockey by 1984.
Other 49s: Chris Williams had an odd stay with the Bills. He didn’t play at all in 1981, and only took part in five games in 1982. The free safety did play in all 16 games in 1983, starting five and making three interceptions. But that was it for his career.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)