By Budd Bailey

Bill Hajt of the Sabres

Taken in Round 3 in 1971

The next pick: The Kings took Vic Venasky from the University of Denver. The center played 430 games in the 1970s, all with the Kings. Vic had 18 goals in 1975-76.

Other picks in that round: Hajt and Venasky are the two leaders in NHL games played in the round. Richard Lemieux (No. 39 for Vancouver) became an original member of the Kansas City Scouts. Goalie John Garrett started his pro career in the WHA, and then moved to the NHL in 1979. He frequently turned up at the Aud as he played for Hartford, Quebec and Vancouver in the 1980s.

The details: Bill didn’t turn pro for a year after he was drafted, but then spent most of the next two seasons in the minors. But the defenseman came up for good in 1974, becoming a part of the Sabre team that reached the finals in 1975. Bill stayed through 1987 – a steady, soft-spoken defenseman who rarely scored but usually made the correct play on the ice.

Other 33s: Bobby Burnett had a very good rookie year with the Bills in 1966, but then had a severe knee injury the next season and his football career was essentially over. Defensive back Roland Mitchell was a reserve for Buffalo as a rookie in 1987. He spent the majority of his NFL career in Green Bay. Joe Kowal couldn’t crack the Sabres’ powerful lineup in the mid-1970s. Rasmus Asplund had some good moments for the Sabres during the 2020-21 season.

(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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