The Buffalo Sabres have not won a single Stanley Cup in the 44 year history of their franchise. With today’s official announcement that they’ve hired Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier as an assistant coach, they’re placing a man who has personally been fitted for an astounding 7 Stanley Cup rings right next to head coach Ted Nolan next season.
Trottier, a 1974 New York Islanders 2nd Round draft pick, hoisted Lord Stanley’s highly-prized hardware four straight times while part of the dominating early 1980’s Islanders’ dynasty.
Toward the end of his playing career he latched on with Pittsburgh, where he bagged two more Cups with the Penguins. He earned his 7th silver chalice with the Colorado Avalanche at the same position the Sabres just inked him to perform from.
In addition to championships, Trottier’s resume includes-if you’ll pardon the pun-an avalanche of statistics and awards. During his playing career he amassed 1,425 points, including 524 goals.
In 1986 at the 38th NHL All-Star Game in Hartford, Connecticut, Trottier gave the Prince of Wales Conference a victory when he ended the contest himself in overtime. Unsurprisingly, the only assist on his game-winning goal that night came off the stick of fellow Hall of Famer and Islanders line-mate Mike Bossy.
Now that his credentials are out of the way, it’s fair to point out that the Sabres were last in the NHL standings last year. And quite frankly it’s unlikely that the 58-year old former centerman will be adding much scoring from behind their bench. However he can offer a few things to the team of tremendous value.
What Trottier brings to Buffalo’s huge pool of young and upcoming talent are enormous leadership skills, a winning attitude and decades of NHL championship experience from both the playing and coaching perspective.
And while as mentioned Trottier has his own plaque hanging on an esteemed wall in Toronto, it also should be noted that during his on-ice career, among other notables, he counted as his teammates Bossy, Denis Potvin, Bobby Nystrom, Ken Morrow, John Tonelli, Billy Smith, Clark Gillies, Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Paul Coffey and Jaromir Jagr. Not a bad bunch of players themselves.
This was a shrewd move by Buffalo General Manager Tim Murray.
Trottier’s accomplishments in the National Hockey League command respect, and as these now-and-future Sabres slowly ascend from the bottom of the NHL to its top, a presence such as his is exactly what they need.
Why? Because in all walks of life greatness has a tendency to follow greatness around.