By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

Last week, you might remember, we looked over the list of “one-hit wonders” of the late and lamented Buffalo Braves. It was a tribute to Kawhi Leonard, who helped the Toronto Raptors win an NBA Championship and then packed for Los Angeles to join the Clippers as a free agent.

The Braves were easy to review. They only played for eight years. The Buffalo Sabres, in comparison, have played 48 seasons. It was a bigger dive into the record book to find their best “one and done” players.

You have to remember that players who only play one season on a team are often on the edge of falling out of the National Hockey League. That means bad teams are far more likely to supply players to this list, since there’s no place else to go in realistic terms. Therefore, the early Sabres – when the team was first formed – and the recent Sabres are well represented.

Here are the players who spent one season in a Sabre uniform and played more than 40 games in that season;

Name – Year – GP – G-A-Pts.
Paul Andrea – 1970-71 – 47 – 11-21-32
Victor Antipin – 2017-18 – 47 – 0-10-10
Andre Benoit – 2014-15 – 59 – 1-8-9
Mike Byers – 1971-72 – 46 – 9-7-16
William Carrier – 2016-17 – 41 – 5-3-8
Matt D’Agostini – 2013-14 – 49 – 5-6-11
Chris Evans – 1971-72 – 61 – 6-18-24
Reg Fleming – 1970-71 – 78 – 6-10-16
Derek Grant – 2016-17 – 40 – 0-3-3
Hugh Harris – 1972-73 – 60 – 12-26- 38

Ed Hospodar – 1987-88 – 42 – 0-1-1
Brent Hughes – 1995-96 – 76 – 5-10-15
Pat Hughes – 1985-86 – 50 – 4-9-13
Jim Korn – 1986-87 – 52 – 4-10-14
Skip Krake – 1970-71 – 74 – 4-5-9
Dmitry Kulikov – 2016-17 – 47 – 2-3-5
Tom Kurvers – 1986-87 – 55 – 6-17-23
Yvon Lambert – 1981-82 – 77 – 25-39-64
David Legwand – 2015-16 – 59 – 5-9-14
Danny Lawson – 1971-72 – 78 – 10-6-16

Mikko Makela – 1990-91 – 60 – 15-7-22
Dave Maloney – 1984-85 – 52 – 1-21-22
Don Marshall – 1970-71 – 62 – 20-29-49
Jamie McBain – 2013-14 – 69 – 6-11-17
Jamie McGinn – 2015-16 – 63 – 14-13-27
Andrej Meszaros – 2014-15 – 60 – 7-7-14
Shaone Morrison – 2010-11 – 62 – 1-4-5
Rob Niedermayer – 2010-11 – 71 – 5-14-19
Jordan Nolan – 2017-18 – 69 – 4-4-8
Wilf Paiement – 1986-87 – 56 – 20-17-37

Benoit Pouliot – 2017-18 – 74 – 13-6-19
Nolan Pratt – 2007-08 – 55 – 1-6-7
Ron Schock – 1977-78 – 40 – 4-4-8
Tyson Strachan – 2014-15 – 46 – 0-5-5
Jean-Guy Talbot – 1970-71 – 57 – 0-7-7

I wouldn’t have guessed the identity of the two players who took part in the most games, as Reggie Fleming and Danny Lawson top that list. Fleming headed for retirement after 1970-71, while Lawson jumped to the World Hockey Association after the 1971-72 campaign.

Who had the best season of those on the list? It’s probably Yvon Lambert, picked up on waivers from Montreal. A 25-goal season (with 64 points) is more than respectable, even though it didn’t earn him a ticket back to the NHL the following season. Lambert spent the next season in Rochester of the AHL. Don Marshall and Wilf Paiement are the only other 20-goal scorers on the list.

No goalies played in 40 games in their one season in Buffalo, but Joe Daley came close. He took part in 38 contests in 1970-71, and then jumped to the WHA.

(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.

Leave a Reply