By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 49 – February 14, 1995The Sabres trade Grant Fuhr, Philippe Boucher, and Denis Tsygurov to Los Angeles for Alexei Zhitnik, Charlie Huddy, Robb Stauber, and a fifth-round draft choice in 1995 (Marian Menhart).

An unexpected development led to the good-sized trade between the Sabres and Kings. Buffalo had acquired Grant Fuhr earlier in the decade to shore up its goaltending situation, and he had done that job. But Dominik Hasek then turned into, well, Dominik Hasek when given the chance because of an injury to Fuhr. There was no way that Hasek was going to be sitting on the bench, and Fuhr – who had played so well in Edmonton – deserved a better fate than that too.

From there, it was a matter of finding a trading partner, and the Kings stepped up. Kelly Hrudey’s play was starting to slide downhill, and superstar Wayne Gretzky knew what Fuhr could do from their days together with Edmonton. The bait was Alexei Zhitnik, a promising defenseman. The Sabres also needed to add Phillippe Boucher, a former first-round pick. Buffalo needed a backup goalie with Fuhr gone, so Robb Stauber fit that description.

Fuhr won one game with the Kings and then signed with St. Louis as a free agent. Zhitnik stayed in Buffalo for nine seasons, and usually was one of the team’s best defensemen. Boucher made the deal at least respectable for the Kings, playing eight years in Los Angeles – half of a 16-year career.

(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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