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This Day in Buffalo Sports History; Off to Columbus

    June 23, 2000 -- It was time for another expansion draft in the National Hockey League, and that means it was time for some odd wheelings and dealings as usual.

   The Buffalo Sabres had something of a roster squeeze when it came to the draft, as there were certain players they wanted to keep but thought they could lose. So, they worked out a predraft deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

   The Sabres packaged Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre (who was nicknamed the Hyphenator), Matt Davidson (no nickname available), and fifth-round picks to Columbus in 2000 and 2001 for future considerations. Then when the draft came along, the Blue Jackets took Dwayne Roloson and Geoff Sanderson, allowing the Sabres to keep their nucleus intact.

    Grand-Pierre was part of the Blue Jackets for more than three seasons, and then bounced to Atlanta and Washington. From there it was off to Sweden and Germany. Davidson played parts of three seasons in Columbus but never had more than four goals in a season before going to Finland, Germany and Denmark. Sanderson had 30 goals or more twice for the Blue Jackets and played with four other teams as he finished up a 17-year career.

   Roloson turned out to be the keeper in all of this. He never played with Columbus, going to St. Louis as a free agent. Then it was on to Minnesota where he was very good (a 1.88 GAA in 2004), and he helped Edmonton reach the Cup finals in 2006. "Rollie the Goalie" played for the Islanders in 2009-10.

--- Budd Bailey

   This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Larry Playfair, Sabres defenseman - 1958.

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