By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
Teppo Numminen – Signed by the Sabres in 2005
It took 16 seasons for Teppo Numminen to finish playing for other teams and join the Sabres. Once he got here, he became one of the best free-agent signings in team history.
Numminen is mostly associated with his time with one franchise. The defenseman joined the Winnipeg Jets as a second-round pick out of Finland in 1988. He stayed eight years in Winnipeg, and when that team moved to Phoenix, he was transformed into a Coyote for seven years. Those teams didn’t win much, but Numminen was always solid. His uniform number eventually was retired by that franchise. He left for Dallas in 2003-04.
After a year off because of league labor problems, Numminen signed with the Sabres in the summer of 2005. He joined a team that was ready to explode, with a bunch of young talent that could take advantage of new rules opening up play. The wily Numminen was a great fit with that team, and scored 40 points in 75 games. He helped the Sabres come within a game of the Stanley Cup finals. Numminen stayed for three more seasons, although one was essentially wiped out by injury. He finally called it a career in 2009 at the age of 40, and became an assistant coach with the Sabres in 2011.
Numminen finished with a total of 1,372 career games. No one had ever played more without winning a Stanley Cup.
Let’s hear from him (and see Paul Hamilton at work) after his last game:
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)