By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 3: August 7, 1992 – The Sabres trade Stephane Beauregard and a fourth-round draft choice in 1993 (Eric Daze) to Chicago for Dominik Hasek.
There were plenty of factors going into this relatively simple-looking trade. It involved three teams, an expansion draft and free agents. Even now, it’s a little tough to sort out.
Dominik Hasek had come to America from the Czech Republic, only to end up as a backup for Ed Belfour with Chicago. The Sabres had been interested in Hasek for months during the 1991-92 season but couldn’t put together a deal. That summer, the first part of the transaction took place when the Sabres swapped Christian Ruuttu to Winnipeg for backup goalie Stephane Beauregard. The Sabres wanted Beauregard because they had to expose one goalie who had played an NHL game in the expansion draft that stocked Ottawa and Tampa Bay.
After the draft, the Sabres picked up Hasek from Chicago for Beauregard and a draft pick. Finally, the Blackhawks sent Beauregard to the Jets for Ruuttu. Buffalo therefore got its goalie, Chicago picked up a decent NHL center, and Winnipeg had Beauregard on its roster again. Whew.
Hasek eventually turned into one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, and carried the Sabres to some great seasons in the late 1990s. Ruuttu did little for the rest of his career. That made it one of the most one-sided trades in local history. As for Beauregard, the Jets sent him to Philadelphia for future considerations in October. When the season was over, the Flyers compensated Winnipeg by giving the Jets … Beauregard. Yes, the goalie was traded for himself.
One last footnote to all of this: Anaheim and Florida entered the league in 1993-94, and the rules were changed for the expansion draft. Each team could protect only one goalie. Therefore the Mighty Ducks and Panthers acquired some good ones as trade bait. Who wasn’t protected but went unselected? That’s right – Dominik Hasek. Try to imagine the Sabres of the late 1990s without him.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)