My favorite player for the New Jersey Devils, was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres. Rob Skrlac, was drafted in the 9th round (224th overall) of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. Every time the Albany River Rats played the Rochester Americans, Rob made sure they remembered. As the New Jersey Devils ready to host the Buffalo Sabres, they have quite a few notable ties. Not one of those 0-0, Dominik Hasek and Martin Brodeur kind of ties but connections nonetheless.
In better times, both clubs played an epic series, in the Eastern Conference Quarter-Finals, of the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs. A series won by New Jerey, 4-3. One, which saw a quadruple overtime affair in Game 6, won by Buffalo, 1-0. That contest saw Hasek make 70 stops and Brodeur turn back 49.
Getting back to those connections of those that have played for both clubs over the years, here’s some of them below:
- Alexander Mogilny (Buffalo, 1989-95 & New Jersey, 2000-01, ’05) – I loved watching Alex Mogilny play. The guy could absolutely snipe. In 381 games with Buffalo, Mogilny netted 211 goals, including an NHL best 76, during the 1992-93 campaign. For a short time, Mogilny was the first European to be named a Captain of a team, while with Buffalo. When he played for New Jersey, Mogilny notched 58 markers in 121 games. Potting four goals in the 1999-00 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Mogilny helped the Devils win their second Stanley Cup. Mogilny played an additional stint in New Jersey, ultimately finishing out his career with Albany in 2006.
- Brian Gionta (New Jersey, 2001-09 & Buffalo, 2014-present) – Older brother of the Devils’ Stephen Gionta, Brian currently resides as the Captain of the Sabres. Coming up through the system in Albany, Gionta played seven seasons in New Jersey, including 2002-03, when he was a member of the Devils’ third Stanley Cup title team. Gionta posted 152 goals in a Devils sweater, along with a franchise best 48, in 2005-06. This season, the “Rochester Rocket,” went home, where he has four goals and eleven points in 34 games thus far.
- Dave Andreychuk (Buffalo, 1982-1993, 2000-01 & New Jersey, 1996-1999) – Coming up with Buffalo as a 19-year-old, Andreychuk spent 12-years between two stints with the Sabres. In 837 contests, Andreychuk posted 368 tallies. Andreychuk was twice a 40-goal scorer and seven-times a 30-plus goal scorer for the Sabres. With the Devils, Andreychuk appeared in 224 games for New Jersey, netting 64 goals. One of those 64 was Andreychuk’s 500th career goal.
Then there are players that maybe had a bit more success with one club than the other. Among those, there’s Dainius Zubrus, Don Lever, Doug Gilmour, Bob Sauve, Steve Bernier, Henrik Tallinder, Erik Rasmussen, Ken Sutton, Doug Bodger, Richard Smehlik, Eric Boulton, Andrew Peters, Adam Mair and Matt D’Agostini. As an Albany guy, I’ll add Rob Conn, Sasha Lakovic, Matt Ruchty and Peter Ambroziak as guys that played for both Albany and Rochester in the American Hockey League.
Michael Gwizdala covers the New York Islanders for The Hockey Writers. Michael is also an Associate Producer at WNYT NewsChannel 13. Additionally, Michael was once a Media Relations intern for the AHL Albany River Rats. Michael is a graduate of The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.