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)