Time to look at the Sabres all-time squad as they celebrate their 40th anniversary along with the Canucks. Interestingly each franchise has been to two Cup Finals neither winning the ultimate prize. Over their histories Buffalo has obtained 494 points more than Vancouver, or an average of six additional wins per season. In theory, The Sabres all-time team should be slightly better than the Canucks.
1st Gilbert Perreault 1191-512-814-1326
2nd Pat LaFontaine 268-158-227-385
3rd Dale Hawerchuk 342-110-275-385
4th Don Luce 766-216-311-527
Mr. Sabre, Gil Perreault is the easy choice for first team centre. He has 130 more goals, almost twice as many assists and over 500 more points than any other player to don the blue and gold.
LaFontaine's stay in Buffalo was short but brilliant, his 1.44 points per game with Buffalo is tops by far and his 148 points in '92/'93 is 21 more than any other Sabre. Hawerchuk scored between 86 and 98 points in four straight seasons and his 80 assists in '92/'93 is second most in Sabre history. Luce had a +61 rating in '74/'75, highest ever for single season.
1st Danny Gare 503-267-233-500
2nd Alexander Mogilny 381-211-233-444
3rd Rene Robert 524-222-330-552
4th Mike Foligno 664-247-264-511
Perhaps the most highly competitive position in Buffalo history, Gare takes top RW spot on the strength of two 50 goal seasons, and a Second Team all star selection in '79/'80. Mogilny's incredible 76 goal season and 0.55 goals per game as a Sabre barely beats out French Connection liner Robert.
1st Rick Martin 681-382-313-695
2nd Dave Andreychuk 837-368-436-804
3rd Craig Ramsay 1070-252-420-672
4th Miroslav Satan 578-224-232-456
Once again, a tight battle at LW with Martin's far superior goals per game beating Andreychuk's slightly longer tenure. Career long Sabre Ramsay had 8 consecutive 20 goal seasons and finished his career with a Selke Award in '84/'85.
1st Phil Housley 608-178-380-558
2nd Mike Ramsey 911-73-256-329
3rd Alexei Zhitnik 712-55-234-289
4th Jim Schoenfeld 584-45-183-228
5th John Van Boxmeer 294-49-166-215
6th Bill Hajt 854-42-202-244
7th Doug Bodger 479-54-233-287
8th Lindy Ruff 608-102-183-285
Housley is easily the top Sabre defender in their history and never scored less than 62 points in any of his eight Buffalo seasons. Ramsey and Zhitnik were long time Sabre soldiers who played in a combined six all-star games. Schoenfeld was selected as second team all-star in '79/'80 a year which saw him record a +60 rating. Van Boxmeer's brief stint saw him tally over 50 points in three straight seasons. Lindy Ruff is the only defenseman not named Phil Housley to have scored 20 goals in a season with 20 even in '85/'86 (Housley did it five times).
1st Dominik Hasek 234-170-70, 2.22
2nd Ryan Miller 187-104-34, 2.57
3rd Don Edwards 156-83-61, 2.90
4th Tom Barrasso 124-102-28, 3.28
Hasek, with five Vezina's and back to back Hart Trophies make him not only the greatest Sabre goalie, but one of the greats in NHL history. Miller with one Vezina and first team all-star selection has alot of work to do even challenge The Dominator. Don Edwards and Tom Barrasso have each also won a Vezina and had two All-Star selections each as a Sabre.
In the end, when comparing Buffalo's to Vancouver's all-time teams the Sabres far better goaltending and superior top-level talent at centre would give them the edge over the 'Nucks.
Perhaps next, as a point of comparison I'll look at other franchises best players from 1970 through the present. Toronto will be next.