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) /
3 of 3
Toronto Maple Leafs
TORONTO, ON – MARCH 11: Jeff Hackett #31 of the Chicago Black Hawks skates against Dave Andreychuk #14 of the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) /

The Biggest Trade & The Fleecing

Date: February 2, 1993

Leafs Acquire: Dave Andreychuk, Daren Puppa, 1993 1st (Kenny Jonsson)

Sabres Acquire: Grant Fuhr, 1995 5th (Kevin Popp)

For the first time in this series, we have a trade that takes two titles.

It’s tough to really argue against it either. This trade was major at the time of the deal and is clearly the biggest steal out of the deals made between the Leafs and Sabres.

Just over halfway through the 1992-93 season, the Sabres were looking to make a move to transition from a high-scoring but susceptible team, to an all-around juggernaut.

Featuring the second-best offence in the league but sitting fourth in the Adams Division, the Sabres were looking to move a major piece to address their goaltending woes. In theory, with Pat LaFontaine, Alexander Mogilny, Dale Hawerchuk, and Dave Andreychuk leading the way up front, one could be moved to fix this issue.

Buffalo found their supposed answer with the Toronto Maple Leafs thanks to the emergence of Felix Potvin. Grant Fuhr was now the number two option in Toronto, and with the upcoming expansion draft only allowing teams to protect one netminder, Toronto would have to move Fuhr or risk losing him for nothing.

And so, on February 2, 1993, the two sides completed the deal.

The Leafs got immense value out of the trade right away. For a player that was going to be sitting on the bench most nights, they got a premier goal scorer in Dave Andreychuk, a replacement backup in Daren Puppa, AND a first-round pick.

Notoriously one of the most overrated players in NHL history, Grant Fuhr’s numbers were nowhere near worthy of the price paid by Sabres management. His .895 save percentage in Toronto paled in comparison to Potvin’s .910 SV%, and at 30 years old, Fuhr’s best seasons were behind him.

Buffalo thought they were getting a saviour in goal that would propel them to new heights, still being able to score with the trio of LaFontaine, Mogilny, and Hawerchuk while getting the star goaltender they had been wanting.

Instead, Fuhr’s results weren’t any better than Puppa’s, the backup that was essentially a throw-in to the trade. In 29 games with the Sabres that season, he had a .891 SV%, a lower mark than his backup Dominik Hasek.

What makes this trade truly brutal for the Sabres is that man right there. The very next season, after going unprotected and unclaimed in the expansion draft, Hasek would become the greatest goaltender of all-time that we know today, winning his first Vezina with a .930 SV% and pushing Fuhr back into the backup role.

The contrast between Hasek and Fuhr in that 1993-94 season is astonishing for two apparent Hall of Famers. Hasek had a .930 SV%, while Fuhr, somehow playing in 32 games, had a .883 SV%.

To really show how stark the difference between the two was, Hasek played 25 more games than Fuhr and only allowed three more goals.

If the Sabres had been a little more patient or had truly given the crease to Hasek in 1992, then maybe they hold onto both Andreychuk and that first-round pick and they keep the potent offence with incredible goaltending.

Instead, it’s the Leafs that benefit. Puppa would play in just eight games with the Leafs before being claimed in the expansion draft but was excellent in those with a .922 SV% and six wins.

The main piece of the trade though was Dave Andreychuk. Perfectly slotting into the Maple Leafs lineup, Andreychuk would perform as one of the best goal scorers in Toronto franchise history.

Following the trade, his 25 goals and 38 points in 31 games helped propel the Toronto Maple Leafs into the playoffs, where they would upset the Detroit Red Wings en route to a Conference Finals loss against the Los Angeles Kings. In those playoffs, Andreychuk’s 12 goals led the team and he was third in team scoring overall.

Conversely, Fuhr was incredibly poor for the Sabres. Posting a .875 SV% in eight appearances, he was pulled in in the first period of Game Four of their first-round series against the Bruins.

In his first full season with the Leafs, Andreychuk became the third and most recent Maple Leaf to score 50 goals. He would also finish second on the team in scoring, missing the 100 point mark by one.

His dominant play with Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark helped push the Toronto Maple Leafs all the way back to the Conference Finals, where they would again lose, this time to the Vancouver Canucks.

Following the back-to-back Conference Final losses, Toronto would take a step back. Andreychuk, now into his thirties, was starting to see his production decline. He dropped all the way down to 0.79 points-per-game in 1994-95, the lowest rate of his career to this point.

Things didn’t get better in 1995-96 and with the Leafs needing to re-tool, he was traded to the New Jersey Devils at the 1996 Trade Deadline for two draft picks.

Even with his diminishing results in his final two seasons with the Leafs, Andreychuk remains one of the most potent goal scorers in franchise history.

Using era adjusted metrics, his 0.49 era adjusted goals per game ranks fourth in Leafs history among players with the same or more games played. The only ones ahead of him are Charlie Conacher, Auston Matthews, and Babe Dye.

It’s hard to believe, but the Leafs also got a first-round pick out of the deal.  With the 12th overall pick, Toronto selected Swedish defenceman Kenny Jonsson.

While not a star player by any means, Jonsson was a solid player for a hit or miss 1993 first round. He ranks 11th in games played among first-rounders from the year, making him a very fair selection for the Toronto Maple Leafs in retrospect. You have to jump nine selections to find the next player to eclipse 600 NHL games, with Montreal drafting Saku Koivu 21st.

Jonsson would only play two seasons in Toronto, both of which only parts of the season. His rookie season in 1994-95 came after time both in Sweden and the AHL. His sophomore campaign was very promising, posting 26 points in 50 games at just 21 years old.

That potential was cashed in by Toronto in order to get Wendel Clark back from the New York Islanders. The trade turned sour for the Leafs a short time later as the first-round pick they gave up in the deal would become Roberto Luongo, but we’ll get to that when we get to the Leafs-Islanders trade history.

Overall, the Andreychuk-Fuhr trade is one of the best in modern Toronto Maple Leafs history and a pin in the cap of general manager Cliff Fletcher.

Next. The 3 Best Lou Lamoriello Moves. dark

Next time up in the Toronto Maple Leafs trade history series will be the Calgary Flames.