By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist
Rob Ray of the Sabres
Taken in Round 5 in 1988
Other pick in that round: Peter Popovic, a Montreal draft choice, went at No. 93 and played almost 500 NHL games. The star of that round, though, is coming up in a few days.
The details: Rob has been part of the furniture in Buffalo for more than 30 years. He broke in with the Sabres in 1989-90 and stayed through 2003. Ray retired after a brief stop in Ottawa, and returned “home” to raise a family and work with the Sabres’ broadcast team. It’s been a nice run for a 40-goal scorer in the NHL – even if it took him 900 games to reach that number.
Other 97s: Richard Smehlik stepped into the Sabres lineup in 1992, and stayed through 2002. A steady, underrated defenseman, Smehlik was a good-sized part of some fine Sabre teams in the 1990s. Safety Coy Wire was a backup safety for the Bills for six seasons in the 2000s.
Doug Rombough was a spare center for the Sabres in 1973-74.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)