The History of Trades Between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 4: Dave Andreychuk #14 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against Trevor Kidd #37 and Sheldon Kennedy #22 of the Calgary Flames during NHL game action on March 4, 1995 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 4: Dave Andreychuk #14 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates against Trevor Kidd #37 and Sheldon Kennedy #22 of the Calgary Flames during NHL game action on March 4, 1995 at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
BUFFALO, NY – OCTOBER 15: Former Buffalo Sabres owner Seymour Knox III re-enacts the first puck drop at the first home game for the Buffalo Sabres . (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) /

The First Trade

Date: August 31, 1970

Leafs Acquire: Cash

Sabres Acquire: Brent Imlach, Floyd Smith

When a new team is formed, they are in desperate need of finding players to fill out the organization. Existing teams also find this as an opportunity to get some sort of asset for what they deem to be spare parts on their roster.

Both teams did exactly this in the first trade between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres.

The newly formed Sabres were being run by former Leafs head coach and general manager Punch Imlach who had many ties with his former team.

Imlach wanted to bring his son Brent from the Leafs organization to the Sabres. Brent had played three games with Toronto but hadn’t made an appearance in three years, having gone to university and playing for the Western Mustangs.

Brent would never play another professional game, transferring to the University of Toronto and later York University before ending his hockey career in 1972.

The much more notable part of this move is the acquisition of Floyd Smith.

Smith, once a middle-six scorer, had seen his point total drop from 34 in 1968-69 to just 18 in 1969-70 with the Leafs. At 35 years of age, he was all set to retire until Punch Imlach talked him into playing for Buffalo.

Offering the opportunity to play with first overall pick Gilbert Perreault, Smith was coaxed into playing another season, becoming the first captain in Buffalo Sabres history.

He would score just 17 points that season, making a brief attempt to return in 1971 before retiring after six games that season.

Upon retirement, Smith would make the move into coaching, where he would later become the head coach for both the Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.