By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 47 – September 29, 1997 – The Sabres trade Pat LaFontaine to the New York Rangers in exchange for a second-round draft choice in 1998 (Andrew Peters) and future considerations.
Pat LaFontaine and the Sabres took to each other quickly when he arrived in town in 1991. It seemed like he would live happily ever after here after some spectacular seasons here. However, injuries got in the way.
LaFontaine started to have concussion-related problems in October 1996 after a collision in a game with Pittsburgh. He missed almost all of that season. The following fall, LaFontaine pronounced himself ready to return, but the Sabres were not willing to clear him for play after reading some medical reports. The two sides reached an impasse, and a trade was the only solution.
The Rangers had an opening at center after the departure of Mark Messier to Vancouver as a free agent, so they gave up a second-round pick to acquire the Sabre. Then in March, 1998, LaFontaine suffered yet another concussion, and this one ended his career. He later came back to the Sabres for a brief time as an executive. LaFontaine eventually was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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