By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

James Patrick – Signed by the Sabres in 1998

James Patrick was 35 years old when he arrived in Buffalo in 1998. He was supposed to supply a little depth on defense and tutor the youngsters. Patrick did much more than that.

Patrick was a first-round pick of the Rangers back in 1981. He proved to be a smart, classy player almost immediately with good offensive skills. Patrick had at least 10 goals in seven straight seasons in New York. A couple of trades pushed him through Hartford to Calgary, where he stayed until 1998.

Patrick was following in his brother Steve’s footsteps, since Steve was a former first-round pick of the Sabres (1980). James played the role of sixth or seventh defenseman for Buffalo, always in the right position. He might be best remembered for a shot during overtime of Game Six of the 1999 Finals against Dallas that hit the post. If the shot had moved an eighth of an inch, “no goal” with Brett Hull wouldn’t have happened.

Then Patrick stayed for another year, and another. He wound up playing six years in Buffalo before finally leaving at age 40 in 2004. Patrick became an assistant coach for Lindy Ruff in 2006.

James could score every so often. Here’s the proof:

(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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