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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Fuhr for Zhitnik

   Feb. 14, 1995 -- The Buffalo Sabres had two Hall of Fame goaltenders on their roster in the 1995 season. The problem was that they could only play one of them at a time. So one had to go.

    Buffalo opted to keep Dominik Hasek -- no arguing that decision -- and traded Grant Fuhr to the Los Angeles Kings in a seven-player deal. Here's the way Jim Kelley of The News described the deal:

   The Buffalo Sabres finally pulled the trigger on the long-rumored Grant Fuhr trade today, sending the veteran goaltender to the Los Angeles Kings in a six-player deal.

    The Sabres sent Fuhr and young defensemen Philippe Boucher and Denis Tsygurov to Los Angeles for defensemen Alexei Zhitnik and Charlie Huddy, and goalie Robb Stauber. Buffalo also gets a fifth-round draft choice in either 1995 or '96.

    The trade came after weeks of speculation that Fuhr would be traded because of his salary, because he is in the final year of his contract, and because Vezina Trophy winner Dominik Hasek will play most of the games for Buffalo.

    Fuhr, 32, is in the final year of a deal that pays him $1.6 million this season. He will become an unrestricted free agent when it expires.

    The key to the deal for Buffalo is Zhitnik. The 22-year-old is considered among the top young offensive defensemen in the league, a player who can move the puck out of his own end quickly, set up other players and beef up the power play -- the Kings are second overall at 26.4 percent on the power play; the Sabres are 15th overall at 16.7.

--- Budd Bailey

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