By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
No. 89 – Alexander Mogilny of the Sabres
Taken in Round 5 in 1988
Other picks in that round: Nine of the players taken in that round reached the NHL, but Mogilny and Rob Ray were the only ones to play at least 500 games.
The details: Hockey fans know the story about how Mogilny was taken “just in case” by the Sabres in 1988. He was considered one of the world’s most talented junior players at the time, but the odds of getting him out of the Soviet Union were considered small. That’s why everyone was shocked when word came the following May that he had defected. Mogilny made his debut in the fall of ’89 as the 88th overall draft choice, so he wore No. 89 on his sweater. Alex reached his peak with a club record 76 goals in 77 games in 1992-93. He went on to play for three other NHL teams and finished with 473 games.
Other 89s: Don Edwards spent a year and a half before arriving in Buffalo for good during the 1976-77 season. He stayed through the summer of 1982, and was a solid if not spectacular netminder. Lucius Sanford joined the Bills at just the right time, as Chuck Knox had just arrived and wanted to rebuild the roster. Sanford stayed for nine seasons, almost always as a starter.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)