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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History; Tim Connolly -- May 7, 1981

The number might surprise you Tim Connolly spent 10 seasons as a member of the Buffalo Sabres.

The center was born outside of Syracuse and played junior hockey in Erie. His strong play there earned him a spot in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, as the New York Islanders took him fifth overall.

Connolly made a good impression right away, which is unusual for an 18-year-old. He had 34 points as a rookie, and 41 points as a second-year player. His future was considered very bright by most hockey experts.

The Sabres thought so too. They traded Michael Peca to the Islanders for Connolly and Taylor Pyatt. After two seasons in which Connolly missed a total of two games, injuries started to become the biggest obstacle to his success. He missed all of the 2003-04 season because of a concussion, and never played in as many as 74 games again as a Sabre.

Connolly re-signed with Buffalo for two years in 2009, and then left as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the record, Connolly averaged .629 points per game in the regular season, and .638 points per game in the playoffs.

-- Budd Bailey

Sports Ink blog at buffalonews.com/blogs