(Born March 28, 1977) -- The Buffalo Sabres haven't had that many draft choices in the top ten picks over the years. That's the price they've paid for being generally in the upper half of the standings.
The 1996 draft was an exception. Buffalo had the seventh choice after missing the playoffs the preceding season, and used its pick to select Erik Rasmussen. The forward had scored 48 points in 40 games for the University of Minnesota. He was big and tough with a scoring touch … who could ask for much more?
Rasmussen spent one more year at Minnesota before signing with the Sabres. He arrived in Buffalo for part of the 1997-98 season, when he played 21 games.
Rasmussen's first playoff goal might have been the highlight of his career. He got a game-winner in the Conference finals against the Maple Leafs, scoring in Game Five.
The center/left wing stayed in Buffalo through 2002, with a career high of 31 points in 2000-01. Then he was traded to Los Angeles for Adam Mair. Rasmussen landed in New Jersey for three years before finishing his career overseas.
--- Budd Bailey
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