October 25, 1991 -- The Buffalo Sabres wanted to crank up their offense and generate interest in the fall of 1991. They were trying to convince civic leaders that the area still had plenty of enthusiasm for its hockey team so they could receive funding for a new arena. So they acquired one of the most exciting players in team history.
Pat LaFontaine came to Buffalo in a trade that was one of the two biggest in team history. (The Schoenfeld/Gare deal with Detroit in 1981 might be bigger.)
LaFontaine didn't come alone. Buffalo also picked up forward Randy Wood, defenseman Randy Hillier, and an undisclosed draft choice. Headed to New York were center Pierre Turgeon, defenseman Uwe Krupp, and forwards Benoit Hogue and Dave McLlwain.
LaFontaine was in the midst of a contract dispute that had him on the sidelines. If the Islanders were going to trade the personable and talented player, they wanted a star in return. Turgeon met that need.
LaFontaine had some of the best years in his career in Buffalo, teaming up with Alexander Mogilny to form a dynamic combination. Sure enough, the new arena got built. It was never called "the house that Pat built," but he certainly made a contribution.
Turgeon had his best year while playing for the Islanders in 1992-93, piling up 132 points. He was traded to the Montreal Canadiens and played for three other teams. Turgeon finished with 1,327 points -- one more than Sabre great Gil Perreault.
--- Budd Bailey