Greatest Sabres: No. 7 Rick Martin
The "Greatest Sabre" list continues today with the seventh greatest person in Sabres history— No.7 himself, Rick Martin.
Martin was the fifth overall pick in the 1971 NHL Draft by the Sabres, coming from the Montreal Junior Canadiens of the OHA.
He came into the league a scoring star, having posted 71 goals and 122 points in 60 games the previous season.
During his time in Buffalo, Martin combined with fellow French Canadian's Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert to form the famed "French Connection" line that took the league by storm.
This helped Martin pick up five seasons of 44 or more goals during his career.
His best performance came in 1974-1975 when he potted 52 goals for 95 points in just 68 games that season.
Martin would play in seven consecutive NHL All-Star games from 1971-1972 through 1977-1978, being selected as the official NHL All-Star first team left winger in 1973-1974 and 1974-1975 as well as the second All-Star team in 1975-1976 and 1976-1977.
Martin holds the franchise career records for hat tricks, four goal games, 40 goal seasons, consecutive 40 goal seasons, 50 goal seasons and consecutive 50 goal seasons.
He was also involved in one of the more frightening incidents in Sabres history. Dave Farrish of the New York Rangers hooked Martin around the neck from behind and kicked Martin's feet out from under him, causing Martin to hit his head on the ice. He was knocked unconscious, and went into convulsions. After that play, helmets became a much more common sight on the heads of his Sabre teammates.
Martin was knocked unconscious and began convulsing. From that point forward, helmets became prevalent for the Sabres.
His career would later be dealt a major blow.
On November 8, 1980 in a game against the Washington Capitals at the Memorial Auditorium, Martin was racing in on a breakaway when Caps forward Ryan Walter tripped Martin.
Caps goalie Mike Palmateer, already out of his crease, knocked Martin back down by kicking his knee, causing severe cartilage damage. Martin would never fully recover.
Martin would get surgery and was dealt on March 10, 1981 by Scott Bowman.
He, along with Don Luce, were sent to the Kings for a pair of draft picks, one of which eventually became Tom Barrasso in 1983.
Martin played just four games for the Kings before calling it quits.
Martin's No. 7 was retired along those of his French Connection line mates in the rafters of the Aud— now HSBC Arena.
Though I am not old enough to have seen Martin play in, the stories of the French Connection live on through time.
Martin had a tremendous career, albeit a short one, and left his mark on the league.
Next up: our list gets a little "rough".
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