The Buffalo Sabres’ best draft pick was the first one they ever made, and Gilbert Perreault had some high-scoring company – and was guarded by a behemoth blueline – back in the day.
Buffalo’s Rene Robert, Rick Martin and Gilbert Perreault.|USA Today
The Buffalo Sabres got a good one when they drafted Gilbert Perreault first overall in their first-ever NHL draft in 1970. Perreault was a remarkable offensive talent, one of the most dangerous players of his generation, as well as the face of the franchise for nearly two decades.
A year after drafting Perreault, the Sabres selected Rick Martin at No. 5 overall and they joined Rene Robert to form ‘The French Connection’ line, which still reigns as the definitive scoring unit in team history. Robert couldn’t be included on the Sabres’ all-time all-drafted team – as he wasn’t drafted – so we’ve slotted Danny Gare as the first-line right winger. He played in the same era as Perreault and Martin and should be plenty familiar with their ’70s scoring style.
The second line features Perreault’s replacement, Pierre Turgeon, who was drafted first overall in 1987, the year Perreault retired from the NHL. Turgeon gets Alexander Mogilny on the right side and Craig Ramsay, another throwback from the ’70s, on the left. There should be plenty of offense from this trio, with Ramsay hustling back to play a little ‘D,’ too.
Peter McNab made his name with Boston in the ’70s and early ’80s, but he entered the NHL with Buffalo and delivered a couple of 20-plus goal campaigns before moving on to the Bruins. He’s joined by Jason Pominville and Dave Andreychuk on the wings, a formidable unit that can score goals and muck it up as required.
The fourth line sees current Sabres linchpin Jack Eichel between scoring wingers Ric Seiling and Tony McKegney. Can they keep up with Eichel in today’s game? It might not really matter – as long as they can get open, Eichel will find them with a set-up pass.
On the blueline, there’s a couple of offensive types in Phil Housley – the highest-scoring American defenseman in NHL history – and Brian Campbell, so the power play has a couple of capable quarterbacks. The elite skill of Housley and Campbell is complemented by the defensive diligence – and jarring physicality – of Mike Ramsey, Jim Schoenfeld, Lee Fogolin an Uwe Krupp. For your own safety, don’t poke these Sabres.
Finally, it’s an intense and talented tandem in net. There’s no Dominik Hasek – as he wasn’t drafted by Buffalo – but there’s Ryan Miller and Tom Barrasso. Great goalies, but probably not the team pranksters.
Here’s a look at Buffalo’s all-time all-drafted team. The 20-player lineup is based on players’ entire NHL body of work.
Gilbert Perreault (1st, 1970)
Pierre Turgeon (1st, 1987)
Peter McNab (85th, 1972)
Jack Eichel (2nd, 2015)
Danny Gare (29th, 1974)
Alexander Mogilny (89th, 1988)
Jason Pominville (55th, 2001)
Ric Seiling (14th, 1977)
Rick Martin (5th, 1971)
Craig Ramsay (19th, 1971)
Dave Andreychuk (16th, 1982)
Tony McKegney (32nd, 1978)
Phil Housley (6th, 1982)
Mike Ramsey (11th, 1979)
Jim Schoenfeld (5th, 1972)
Lee Fogolin (11th, 1974)
Brian Campbell (156th, 1997)
Uwe Krupp (214th, 1983)
Ryan Miller (138th, 1999)
Tom Barrasso (5th, 1983)