Prior to the Buffalo Sabres game against the Toronto Maple Leafs this Friday, the team will raise the jersey of one of the greatest players in its history, Pat LaFontaine, to the rafters in HSBC Arena. LaFontaine will join Gilbert Perreault (11), Rick Martin (7), Rene Robert (14), Tim Horton (2) and Danny Gare (18) in the elite club.
While LaFontaine's performance on and off the ice warrants the honor, he is not the only Buffalo player to sport 16 on the back of his jersey. Below is a listing of the number's progression throughout the years and the players who wore it.
(1999-00 -- 2003-04) As the last man to wear number 16, Taylor appeared in 90 games for the Sabres during his five-season tenure with the team. In that span, the 6'0", 195-pound center recorded eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points. Selected by the New York Islanders in the second-round (27th overall) of the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Taylor spent the majority of his tenure as a member of the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League where he ranks among the top ten in two offensive categories as of Wednesday: fifth in assists; and ninth in points. The 14-year veteran began the 2005-06 season centering Rochester's top line before a sever leg injury called compartment syndrome that forced him to miss 47 games.
Darrin Shannon (1989-90 -- 1990-91) Shannon appeared in 55 of his 506 NHL career games for Buffalo, scoring 10 goals and adding 14 assists for the Sabres over parts of four seasons. The native of Barrie, Ontario was a first-round selection (4th overall) of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1988 NHL Entry Draft and played for three different NHL teams during his career: Buffalo; Winnipeg; and Phoenix. His best statistical season came during 1992-93 when he broke the 20-goal plateau for the first of two times in his career, finishing that season with 20 goals and 40 assists for 60 points in 84 games.
Mike Donnelly (1987-88 -- 1988-89) Donnelly appeared in 74 games for the Sabres over the course of three seasons. Never drafted into the NHL, Donnelly worked his way into the league after four years with the Michigan State Spartans and signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers prior to the 1986-87 season. After being traded to the Sabres following 1987-88, Donnelly jumped between Buffalo and Rochester for the next two seasons. In total, the Livonia, MI native recorded 11 goals and 27 points for Buffalo before signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Kings following the 1989-90 season.
Paul Brydges (1986-87) A native of nearby Guelph, Ontario, Brydges was signed by the Sabres as a free agent prior to the 1986-87 season, just 10 days before his 21st birthday. Brydges appeared in just 15 games during his rookie campaign, netting a pair of goals and setting up two others. That season proved to be the only instance the center, who spent the next three seasons in the AHL with Rochester and the New Haven Nighthawks, saw action at hockey's highest level. A former captain of the Guelph Platers of the Ontario Hockey League, Brydges returned to his hometown in 1994 and accepted a assistant coaching position for the Storm..
Ric Seiling (1977-78 -- 1985-86) Seiling spent nine of his 10 NHL seasons in a Sabres sweater. A first-round selection (14th overall) in the 1977 NHL Amateur Draft by Buffalo and a sixth-round selection (55th overall) in the WHA Amateur Draft by Winnipeg Jets that same year, Seiling chose to play for the Sabres and made his mark in professional hockey as one of the top penalty killers in the league. Before moving on to play a single season in Detroit, Seiling scored 176 goals and added 200 assists for 376 points, while posting 524 penalty minutes in 664 games for Buffalo.
Derek Smith (1976-77) Smith wore 16 for just one of his seven seasons with the Sabres. A tenth-round selection (168th overall) in the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft, Smith produced the best offensive numbers of his career after he joined Danny Gare and Tony McKegney on a line during the 1979-80 season. Other the next two seasons, Smith put together a pair of 20-goal and 60-point campaigns. In the fall of 1981, the Quebec City, PQ native found himself part of a trade that brought Mike Foligno, Dale McCourt and Brent Peterson to Buffalo. Smith left the Queen City with 244 games, 65 goals, 98 assists and 163 points under his belt.
Peter McNab (1974-75 -- 1975-76) Buffalo's sixth-round selection (85th overall) in the 1972 NHL Amateur Draft, McNab averaged almost a point a game for Buffalo during his three seasons with the team. Son of New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals general manager Max McNab, the 6'3", 205-pound forward was credited as one of the first players to advance to the NHL level after a collegiate career after spending two seasons at the University of Denver prior to turning pro. McNab appeared in 154 games during his tenure in Buffalo, recording 49 goals and 59 assists for 108 points.
Real Lemieux (1973-74) Lemieux joined the Sabres during the twilight of his 11-year NHL career when an injury to Rick Martin forced then general manager and head coach Punch Imlach to add depth to his lineup. Wearing a Sabres uniform for only a slim portion of that season, the Victoriaville, PQ native appeared in 11 games for Buffalo during 1973-74. In that span, Lemieux recorded a goal and an assist.
Randy Wyrozub (1972-73) Wyrozub joined the Sabres during the 1970-71 season at the age of 20. Splitting his time between the NHL, AHL and WHL for four seasons, the 5'11", 170-pound center played all 100 NHL career games for Buffalo. He scored eight goals and added 10 assists for 18 points in that span.
Ron Anderson (1970-71 -- 1971-72) After being acquired from St. Louis in exchange for Craig Cameron, Anderson played a role in two Sabres milestones. Skating on a line with Hap Myers and Billy Inglis, Anderson was on the ice for Buffalo's inaugural NHL faceoff on October 10, 1970 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He again etched his name in Sabres lore after scoring the first shorthanded goal in team history during the third period of Buffalo's 4-3 win over Detroit on October 23 that same season. In 111 games with the Sabres, Anderson recorded 14 goals and 16 assists for 30 points. He moved on to play in the World Hockey Association following a disappointing campaign in 1971-72.
Note: Butch Deadmarsh also wore 16 but not for an extended period of time.