(Born July 3, 1968) -- For someone who was closely associated with the Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes for a long, long time, Teppo Numminen is building up senior as a member of the Buffalo Sabres' organization.
Numminen grew up in Finland and was taken in the second round by the Jets in 1986. He landed in North America in 1988. The defenseman and the Jets headed for Phoenix in 1996, and Numminen was picked for the NHL All-Star Game in 1999 and 2000.
Just when it looked like the player and team would live happily ever after, Numminen was traded in 2003 to Dallas for Mike Sillinger. Then after the lockout, he signed as a free agent with the Sabres in 2006.
Numminen was a smart, skillful defenseman during the next two years. In 2007, he was sidelined because of an operation to repair a faulty heart valve. The surgery worked, and Numminen came back for the final game of the 2007-08 season. He still wasn't done playing, getting in one last year in Buffalo before retiring.
In the fall of 2011, Numminen returned to the Sabres' organization to work as an assistant coach under Lindy Ruff. Maybe he'll stay for 20 years in that role.
--- Budd Bailey
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