By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 89 – Alexander Mogilny of the Sabres

Taken in Round 5 in 1988

Other picks in that round: Nine of the players taken in that round reached the NHL, but Mogilny and Rob Ray were the only ones to play at least 500 games.

The details: Hockey fans know the story about how Mogilny was taken “just in case” by the Sabres in 1988. He was considered one of the world’s most talented junior players at the time, but the odds of getting him out of the Soviet Union were considered small. That’s why everyone was shocked when word came the following May that he had defected. Mogilny made his debut in the fall of ’89 as the 88th overall draft choice, so he wore No. 89 on his sweater. Alex reached his peak with a club record 76 goals in 77 games in 1992-93. He went on to play for three other NHL teams and finished with 473 games.

Other 89s: Don Edwards spent a year and a half before arriving in Buffalo for good during the 1976-77 season. He stayed through the summer of 1982, and was a solid if not spectacular netminder. Lucius Sanford joined the Bills at just the right time, as Chuck Knox had just arrived and wanted to rebuild the roster. Sanford stayed for nine seasons, almost always as a starter.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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