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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Rebuilding the Sabres

    November 16, 1995 -- When the Buffalo Sabres were eliminated in ugly fashion from the playoffs in 1995 from Philadelphia, they figured to launch a rebuilding program. That meant many of the veterans who had been with the team for the previous few seasons were headed elsewhere.

   The most obvious sign of that was when Alexander Mogilny had gone to Vancouver for three players that summer. In November, another shoe dropped.

   Buffalo sent defenseman Doug Bodger to San Jose in a three-way deal that also involved Philadelphia. The Sabres picked up Vaclav Varada, prospect Martin Spanhel, a fourth-round pick in 1996 (Mike Martone) and a first-round pick in 1996 (Erik Rasmussen).

   Bodger was an interesting case. He came up to the NHL in 1984 as an 18-year-old defenseman and displayed a maturity well beyond his years. Bodger had some offensive skills but still wasn't too bad at all in his own end. He came to the Sabres in the Tom Barrasso deal, and seemed to plateau a bit. By 1995, Bodger's play had started to decline a little, and the Sabres did well to get such a large package for him.

   Varada proved to be a good pest for a few years on the checking line, but Rasmussen never did live up to his supposed potential.

--- Budd Bailey


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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.