Five former Buffalo Sabres were honored as Gilbert Perreault, Tim Horton, Grant Fuhr, Pat LaFontaine, and Dominik Hasek were named to the NHL's Top 100 players in NHL history.
Perreault was Buffalo's first overall pick in the 1970 NHL Draft, and was the franchise's first draft selection. Perreault spent his entire career in Buffalo from 1970 to 1986. In 1,191 career games with Buffalo, Perreault scored 512 goals and registered 1,326 points. Perreault holds a majority of Buffalo's franchise records, including goals, assists, points, games played, shots and game-winning goals.
Perreault was most noticeably known for his role centering the "French Connection" line along with wingers Rick Martin and Rene Robert. The three played together for six full seasons and made the playoffs five of the six seasons.
Perreault retired after the 1985-86 season, and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990. Perreault was a six-time All-Star in his career, to go along with a Calder Trophy in 1971 as the NHL's rookie of the year and a Lady Byng Trophy in 1973 for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct along with high standards of playing ability. He also made one appearance in the Stanley Cup finals in 1975, but the Sabres fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. The Sabres retired his number-11 in 1990.
Tim Horton was most notably known for his playing career with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1949 to 1970. Horton joined the Sabres in 1972, playing nearly two full seasons with the Sabres until his untimely death in 1974. In his time with the Sabres, Horton scored a goal and notched 23 points in 124 games played as a 40-plus year old player.
In his NHL career spanning 24 seasons with four different teams, Horton played 1,446 games with 115 goals and 518 points. Horton was a seven-time All-Star, and was a four-time Stanley Cup winner with the Leafs in 1962, '63, '64, and '67. Horton was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977. The Sabres retired Horton's number-2 in 1996, while the Leafs retired his number-7 in 2016.
Grant Fuhr was acquired by the Sabres on February 2, 1993 in a trade with the Leafs that sent Daren Puppa, Dave Andreychuk and a first-round pick to Toronto for the 30-year old netminder. Fuhr then spent parts of the next three seasons in Buffalo before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1995.
In his time with the Sabres, Fuhr played in 64 games with a 25-29-5 record, a 3.60 goals-against average and a .886 save percentage. In the 1993-94 season along with Hasek, Fuhr won the William M. Jennings Trophy for the goaltending duo with the fewest goals allowed in a season. Fuhr made it to two playoffs with the Sabres, but the team never made it as far as the Division Semi-Finals (1993).
Fuhr was most notably known for his time spent with the Edmonton Oilers from 1981 to 1991. Fuhr won four Stanley Cups with the Oilers in 1984, '85, '87, and '88. Fuhr was also a six-time All-Star in his career, and he also won the Vezina Trophy in 1988 as the NHL's best goaltender in a season. Fuhr retired following the 1999-2000 season, and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003. The Oilers also retired his number-31 in 2003.
The Sabres acquired Pat LaFontaine in a blockbuster deal in 1991 which sent four players, including Pierre Turgeon, to the New York Islanders. In return, Buffalo received LaFontaine along with Randy Wood and Randy Hiller.
LaFontaine ended up putting some of his best career numbers in his time with the Sabres, including a 148-point season (53 goals and 95 assists) in 1992-93. In six seasons with the Sabres, LaFontaine scored 158 goals and registered 385 points in 268 games. LaFontaine failed to reach the Stanley Cup Finals with the Sabres, but he did win the Bill Masterton Trophy with the team in 1995 as the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey.
In his 15-year career with the Sabres, Islanders and New York Rangers, LaFontaine scored 1,013 points in just 865 games, giving him a career 1.17 points-per-game rate. LaFontaine was a five-time All-Star in his career, and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 after calling it a career in 1998. The Sabres are the only team to have retired his number-16, which was done in 2006.
It was in his time with the Sabres where Dominik Hasek's career really took off. After being acquired by the Sabres in the summer of 1992 from the Chicago Blackhawks, Hasek took the reigns as the Buffalo's starting goalie and never looked back.
In nine seasons with the Sabres and in 491 career games played, Hasek recorded a 234-170-70 record with a 2.22 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. Hasek is second all-time in franchise history in wins, losses, saves, and minutes played. However, Hasek holds the franchise record in a number of goalie statistics including goals-against average, save percentage, and shutouts. In 1999, Hasek helped lead the Sabres to the Stanley Cup Finals, where Buffalo lost in six games to the Dallas Stars.
Hasek finished his tenure with the Sabres as a six-time All-Star, a six-time Vezina Trophy winner, a two-time William M. Jennings Trophy winner, and a two-time Ted Lindsay Award winner as the league's most outstanding player as selected by the NHLPA. Most notably, Hasek was a two-time Hart Trophy winner in 1997 and 1998 as the NHL's most valuable player.
In Hasek's 16-year career with four different franchises, he finished with 389 wins, a 2.20 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage in 735 games played. Hasek is 13th in NHL history in career wins, but he ranks atop the all-time goaltending list in save percentage. Hasek would go on to win two Stanley Cup Championships with the Detroit Red Wings in 2002 and 2008. Hasek also won another William M. Jennings trophy with the Red Wings in 2008.
Hasek officially retired in 2011, and was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014. The Sabres officially retired Hasek's number-39 to the rafters in 2015.