By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 28: March 10, 1981The Sabres trade Rick Martin to Los Angeles for a third-round draft choice in 1981 (Colin Chisholm) and a first-round draft choice in 1983 (Tom Barrasso).

Rick Martin’s career seemed headed for the Hall of Fame throughout the 1970s. He had one of the most accurate slap shots in hockey, and he used it to score 50 goals twice. Martin finished 1979-80 with 45 goals.

But then Martin’s career took a turn for the worse. He suffered a knee injury in 1980 in a game with Washington, and it took him several weeks to get back into the lineup. Martin criticized the Sabres’ organization for rushing him back into action. In Feb. 1981, Martin had surgery on the injured knee in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Kings had lost left winger Charlie Simmer to a broken leg just before the trading deadline, and needed someone to play on the “Triple Crown” line with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor.

Thus, a trade was completed between the two teams – one that had to be reworked when Martin’s knee was examined. Los Angeles eventually sent two picks to the Sabres, including a first in 1983. Martin played in only two games (one in the playoffs) for the Kings that season, and three more the following season before he was forced to retire. Buffalo took Tom Barrasso with the top draft pick, and that worked out well.

Martin later won an out-of-court settlement on his medical case. The winger died in 2011, and an autopsy found that he was suffering from CTE – brain damage from a severe concussion obtained during a 1977 game.

(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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