Buffalo Sabres & NHL Hockey Great
When the Buffalo Sabres picked Dave Andreychuk in the first round of the National Hockey League draft (16th overall), the team knew it had acquired a tall, rangy youngster with “soft hands” and an outstanding reach. By the time of his retirement, the club, with the beauty of hindsight, was able to see that it in fact had acquired a player who stands tall in the ranks of all-time greats not only among the Sabres, but in the entire NHL.
Thrust into the lineup as an 18-year old, Andreychuk scored a goal in his first NHL game, and never looked back. Dave led the team in goals four times, in 1983-84, his second season (38), in 1984-85 (31), in 1989-90 (40) and in 1990-91 (36), and also led the team in assists and points from 1985-86 through 1987-88. An immovable object in front of opposing netminders, Dave was perennially among the league leaders in power-play goals, and holds team (and league) records for power play goals for a season and career. When Andreychuk had completed his second stint with the Sabres after the 2000-2001 campaign, he also stood among team career leaders in games (sixth, 837), goals (third, 368), assists (second, 436), and points (second, 804); in the listing of assists and points, he stands first among team left wingers, and is second in goals only to Rick Martin. An often explosive scorer, his single-game outbursts of five goals (Feb. 8, 1986 against Boston) and four power-play goals (March 19, 1992 against Los Angeles) are unequalled in team history.
Andreychuk’s NHL journey also featured stops in Toronto, Boston, New Jersey, Colorado, and Tampa. The goals and points continued to pile up (including 50 goals in a season twice), and by the time he hung up his skates, Dave’s career totals of 1,639 games, 640 goals, 698 assists, and 1,338 points placed him high among the all-time NHL leaders in all categories.
Always a player who led by example, Dave brought a wealth of experience and veteran leadership to the teams he played for late in his career. In 2000-01, he skated through a second stint with the Sabres, and helped bring the team within one bad bounce of the Eastern Conference Finals. In 2003-04, he captained a young Tampa Bay squad to its (and his) first Stanley Cup title. Unlike other veterans who hopped aboard talented teams for a ride to the Cup, Dave was an integral part of the Lightning’s run, with a combination of timely scoring and inspiration.
An Amherst resident during his entire time in the NHL, Dave Andreychuk ended his NHL travels by retiring to Western New York, joining numerous Buffalo Sabres alumni. Tonight, he finds a second home in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.