In 50 years of hockey, the Buffalo Sabres have swung their fair share of trades. From minor league swaps to marquee blockbusters, the club isn’t lacking when it comes to trade history.
Buffalo’s transaction history provides a beautiful cross section of NHL history. From the 70s and 80s eras where blockbusters came about regularly to the modern era where GMs are loathe to make any waves for fear of immediate retribution. In attempt to celebrate some of the club’s history, I ran down a list of some of the most noteworthy trades in franchise history. This isn’t a proper ranking or numbered list, nor is this meant to be a full accounting of every important trade in club history. Some of these trades in and of themselves are little more than blips on the radar, but they set the stage for bigger things down the road. Meanwhile, others are tried and true blockbusters, noteworthy for all the reasons you’d expect.
One thing that ties them all together is some sort of noteworthy feature or function, whether the inclusion of a franchise cornerstone or setting the wheels in motion for something bigger. Like laying the foundation to acquire a franchise cornerstone.
A fairly innocuous observation between Eric and myself on the last Instigator Podcast has suddenly become a big story in hockey circles. Maybe if there was hockey being played this wouldn’t even matter. But since this ridiculous lockout continues, Max Afinogenov’s inclusion on the Alumni Plaza mural is a story.To offer a recap, Afinogenov was included on a photo mural of former Sabres that adorns the walkway in the newly anointed Alumni Plaza. The decision to cover the walkway with former Sabres was not only a decision likely forced by the lockout (and inability to use current players for promotions) and the convenient fact that the creation of the Plaza would make the black and white headshot mural quite out of place. For what it’s worth, the team picture mural concept was getting old fast and I commend the Sabres for having a new option that they can renew each season, if they so choose.
Afinogenov is one of the last players pictured and is sandwiched between Chris Drury, Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. Both Drury and Afinogenov are featured in “slug” jerseys and tie together the current era of team history on the mural. The question surrounding Afinogenov’s inclusion asks not only how deserving he is of the honor and how many other Sabre greats were passed over for him. Continue reading →