In the history of the Buffalo Sabres, 460 skaters have taken the ice. Of those players, 12 have played just one game. Among them are 10 forwards and two defensemen. Collectively, they racked up one assist (a power play apple), four penalty minutes, a minus-3 plus/minus rating and recorded 12 shots on goal.
Presenting the Buffalo One and Done Sabres’ Skaters. Chances are, if you blinked, you missed them.
1970-71: Francois Lacombe
Lacombe, a blueliner, played 74 games for the Oakland Seals before joining the Sabres. He played one game for the blue and gold, recording the only point of any of the teams’ one-and-done players. He also has the dubious distinction of having the worst plus-minus rating: -2. Lacombe played six seasons in the WHA and finished his NHL career playing three games for the Quebec Nordiques.
1970-71: Brian Perry
After coming over from the Oakland Seals in the expansion draft, Perry, a left-shot, played in one game for the Sabres in the franchise’s debut season. The forgettable game took place in the Memorial Auditorium against the Montreal Canadiens on Nov. 15, 1970. He later played in the WHA for two seasons. He was one of a handful of players born in England to ever play in the NHL.
1981-82: Jeff Eatough
Eatough was a standout junior hockey player. He scored 30 goals and 72 points the year he was drafted. The following year, 1981-82, while playing on a line with Doug Gilmour, Eatough exploded for 53 goals and 90 points to go with 180 penalty minutes.
The Sabres fourth-round pick in 1981 (80th overall) took the NHL ice only once… in a game on March 25 in Boston Garden. The right winger was a minus-one. He never played in the NHL again.
1988-89: Trent Kaese
The Sabres drafted Kaese with the 14th pick in the 8th round (161st overall) in 1985. The right winger wore No. 39 and took five shots in his only professional game. None of them lit the lamp. His resume included several seasons, as he bounced around from team to team in the minor leagues.
1989-90: Francois Guay
The eighth-round, 152nd overall pick by the Sabres in 1986 played his single game against the Winnipeg Jets. The center from Gatineau, Quebec did not make it in the scoring column and his career stalled out. He played a season for the Rochester Americans, putting up 63 points in 61 games, but then left the U.S. to play in Europe.
1989-90: Reed Larson
After appearing in 903 games for the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers, New York Islanders and Minnesota Stars, Larson, a U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer, topped off his career with a single game in blue and gold.
The rugged defenseman from Minnesota wore No. 55 for the Sabres and promptly retired from the NHL.
In 904 games in the NHL, Reed scored 222 goals, had 463 helpers and a whopping 1,391 penalty minutes. He was the quintessential modern-day hockey player because he could produce points as well as bring a high level of physicality and toughness.
1998-99: Dean Sylvester
Sylvester, born on Dec. 30, 1972, was taken by the San Jose Sharks in the 1993 Supplemental Draft. He was signed as a free agent by the Sabres and made his NHL debut for the team on Feb. 10, 1999 against the Florida Panthers. That night he took twelve shifts which totalled 8:47 of ice time. Later, the Massachusetts native played 95 games for Atlanta Thrashers from 1999-2001, scoring 21 goals and adding 16 assists.
1999-2000: David Moravec
The right wing from Vitkovice, Czechoslovakia was taken by the Sabres in the eighth round (218th overall) of the 1998 draft. His sole game was against the Detroit Red Wings and he registered a minus-1 for the game in 19 shifts across 15 minutes 15 seconds of ice time. Though it was his only NHL game, his career continued for another decade while playing in several European leagues.
2002-03: Sean McMorrow
McMorrow, the Sabres’ eighth-round pick in 2000, played one game in his NHL career. His NHL career spanned a total of 1 minute and 27 seconds during two shifts. He returned to Rochester and played three seasons with the Americans. The rough and tumble winger amassed thousands of penalty minutes during his OHL, AHL and LNAH career and got caught up in the law with drug trafficking charges.
2014-15: Joel Armia
The 6-foot-4, 213 pound forward was a Sabres first-round pick in 2011 (16th overall). Armia appeared in one game for the Sabres before being traded to the Winnipeg Jets in a multi-player deal.
Armia played three seasons for the Jets, but was traded to the Montreal Canadiens on June 20, 2018. He’s scored 55 goals and added 56 assists in 295 NHL games.
2016-17: Sean Malone
After a four-year career playing for Harvard University, Malone was taken by the Sabres in the sixth round (159th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. His first and only appearance in the NHL came against the Florida Panthers on April 8, 2017. Wearing No. 42, he took 15 glorious shifts, shooting once during 12 minutes and 12 seconds of ice time. The oft-injured player followed up his pro career playing three seasons for the Americans.
2019-20: Dalton Smith
Smith, a second-round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2010, played one game for the Sabres, coming on December 31, 2019. Both media and fans saw the move as the front office bringing up a “tough guy” veteran to answer the bell against several Tampa Bay Lightning players who made some questionable hits against the team in a game played a few weeks earlier. Smith took one two-minute minor penalty and was a plus-one in a grand total of 86 seconds on the ice. Surprisingly, that paltry time was divided among four shifts.
The One-and-Done Dozen
That rounds out the dozen players to have played one game for the Buffalo Sabres. It runs the gamut of players picked in the first round to those taken in the eighth round. Of course, the NHL Entry Draft is now only seven rounds.
In case you’re wondering, there are only 10 players to have played a total of two games for the Sabres in their career, and 10 to have played three games. The only player to score a goal while playing three or fewer games in a Sabres uniform was Travis Turnbull in 2011-12.
Jeff has been covering the NHL for over a decade for various sites. He’s been with The Hockey Writers as a lead Sabres writer three years, while also writing a satire column called “Off the Crossbar.”