By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 98: January 30, 1986 – The Sabres trade Larry Playfair, Sean McKenna and Ken Baumgarter to Los Angeles for Brian Engblom and Doug Smith.
The Sabres and Los Angeles Kings weren’t heading anywhere in the middle of the 1985-86 season. Sometimes a good-sized trade can change the mix of the roster. That was the hope from the Sabres standpoint when this trade was announced.
Buffalo hoped that Doug Smith could supply some needed speed to its group of centers. It took about a period in a Sabre uniform for people to realize that he was the team’s fastest center. He even scored a goal in that first game and had 21 points in 30 games. Engblom stayed for the rest of the season and then was traded to Calgary for Jim Korn where a neck injury ended his career prematurely.
The Kings probably had hopes that McKenna could take his game to another level after scoring 20 goals twice in his early 20s in Buffalo. But his game went in the other direction and he was out of the league by the age of 27. Playfair added plenty of muscle and character during his stay in L.A., which ended when he was traded back to Buffalo in 1988.
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