By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page
No. 51 – May 25, 1971 – The Sabres trade Joe Daley to Detroit for Don Luce and Mike Robitaille.
In most cities, Joe Daley is remembered as the last goalie in pro hockey not to wear a mask. In Buffalo, he is still recalled as someone who made his biggest contributions by departing.
The Sabres had a crowded goaltending situation in their first season of 1970-71. Roger Crozier was the obvious No. 1 man. That left Daley and Dave Dryden, who were both pretty good netminders and capable of seeing regular duty. That made a trade for one of them possible, and Daley was the one to go. Detroit gave up Don Luce and Mike Robitaille for him.
It couldn’t have worked out better for the Sabres. Luce stayed for about a decade, and developed into one of the league’s best defensive centers. He was a big part of some powerful Sabre teams in the 1970s. Robitaille helped solidify the Buffalo defense, and was part of the first Sabre playoff team in 1972-73. What’s more, both made contributions after retirement to the Sabres – Luce as a member of the hockey department, and Robitaille as a broadcaster.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)