Buffalo Sabres History: Part I (1970-1981)

The 2013-2014 NHL season was a year in Buffalo Sabres history that both players and fans want to forget. It was a historically bad season for the franchise yet it afforded the team an opportunity to acquire an impressive stock of young players in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. The Sabres are poised to turn a corner within the next few seasons as the club looks to return to form in the quest for it’s first championship.

[See Also: Restocking the Cupboard: Tim Murray’s First Draft with the Buffalo Sabres]

As the Sabres move forward, it is important to remember Buffalo’s storied past. Buffalonians have developed a strong bond with their hockey club and have a proud hockey tradition.

Buffalo Sabres history began with the 1970-1971 season. Buffalo’s famous French Connection line of forwards Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert emerged in the club’s early years. Buffalo had it’s struggles but it managed to make an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals during the 1974-1975 season where it lost to the Philadelphia Flyers. Here is a look at part one of Buffalo’s season-by-season history from it’s humble beginnings.

 

Inaugural Season: 1970-1971

Head Coach: George “Punch” Imlach
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 24-39-15 (63 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Gilbert Perreault (72)
Leader in Goals: Gilbert Perreault (38)
Leader in Assists: Phil Goyette (46)
East Division: 5th overall
Playoffs: Did not qualify

1971-1972 Season

Head Coach: George “Punch” Imlach, Floyd Smith, Joe Crozier
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 16-43-19 (51 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Rick Martin & Gilbert Perreault (74)
Leader in Goals: Rick Martin (44)
Leader in Assists: Gilbert Perreault (48)
East Division: 6th overall
Playoffs: Did not qualify

1972-1973 Season

Head Coach: Joe Crozier
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 37-27-14 (88 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Gilbert Perreault (88)
Leader in Goals: Rene Robert (40)
Leader in Assists: Gilbert Perreault (60)
East Division: 4th overall
Playoffs: Lost in 1st round to the Montreal Canadiens

1973-1974 Season

Head Coach: Joe Crozier
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 32-34-12 (76 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Rick Martin (86)
Leader in Goals: Rick Martin (52)
Leader in Assists: Rene Robert (44)
East Division: 5th overall
Playoffs: Did not qualify
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1974-1975 Season

Head Coach: Floyd Smith
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 49-16-15 (113 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Rene Robert (100)
Leader in Goals: Rick Martin (52)
Leader in Assists: Rene Robert (60)
Adams Division: 1st overall
Playoffs: Lost in Stanley Cup Finals to the Philadelphia Flyers

1975-1976 Season

Head Coach: Floyd Smith
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 46-21-13 (105 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Gilbert Perreault (113)
Leader in Goals: Danny Gare (50)
Leader in Assists: Gilbert Perreault (69)
Adams Division: 2nd overall
Playoffs: Lost in 2nd Round to the New York Islanders

1976-1977 Season

Head Coach: Floyd Smith
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 48-24-8 (104 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Gilbert Perreault (95)
Leader in Goals: Gilbert Perreault (39)
Leader in Assists: Gilbert Perreault (56)
Adams Division: 2nd overall
Playoffs: Lost in 2nd Round to the New York Islanders

1977-1978 Season

Head Coach: Marcel Pronovost
General Manager: George “Punch” Imlach
Season Record: 44-19-17 (105 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Gilbert Perreault (89)
Leader in Goals: Gilbert Perreault (41)
Leader in Assists: Gilbert Perreault (48)
Adams Division: 2nd overall
Playoffs: Lost in 2nd Round to the Philadelphia Flyers

1978-1979 Season

Head Coach: Marcel Pronovost, Billy Inglis
General Manager: John Anderson
Season Record: 36-28-16 (88 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Gilbert Perreault (85)
Leader in Goals: Rick Martin (32)
Leader in Assists: Gilbert Perreault (58)
Adams Division: 2nd overall
Playoffs: Lost in 1st Round to the Pittsburgh Penguins

1979-1980 Season

Head Coach: Scotty Bowman
General Manager: Scotty Bowman
Season Record: 47-17-16 (110 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Gilbert Perreault (106)
Leader in Goals: Danny Gare (56)
Leader in Assists: Gilbert Perreault (66)
Adams Division: 1st overall
Playoffs: Lost in 3rd Round to the New York Islanders

1980-1981 Season

Head Coach: Roger Neilson
General Manager: Scotty Bowman
Season Record: 39-20-21 (99 points)
Leading Overall Scorer: Danny Gare (85)
Leader in Goals: Danny Gare (46)
Leader in Assists: John Van Boxmeer (51)
Adams Division: 1st overall
Playoffs: Lost in 2nd Round to the Minnesota North Stars