With the departure of Adam Mair and the arrival of Brad Boyes, jersey #22 has been a pretty popular point of conversation for Buffalo Sabres fans.
Rick Vaive wore #22 for the Buffalo Sabres from 1988 until his retirement from the NHL in 1992. A tenacious winger with a booming slapshot, Vaive was crumbling bodies against the boards and dropping his gloves to scrap when he wasn’t scoring goals.
In his four seasons with the Sabres, Vaive recorded 31 (12 with Chicago) goals in 1988-89, 29 in 1989-90, 25 in 1990-91, and 1 goal in his NHL retirement season of 1991-92. His truly amazing feat, however, came when he was a member of the rival Toronto Maple Leafs.
In 1981-82, Vaive etched a stone in Maple Leaf history, when he scored 54 goals. Though the Leafs were in existence since 1917, Vaive became the first player in club history to score 50 goals in a season.
To put that into perspective, Maurice Richard reached 50 in 1944-45. Bernie Geoffrion did it in 1960-61. The mark was hit 24 times by 1980 (Rick Martin did it for the expansion Sabres in 1973-74 and 1974-75, Danny Gare in 1975-76 and 1979-80), and the mark was hit 76 more times throughout the NHL in the ’80s.
Here’s a look at a classic Vaive slapper:
Vaive is currently a retired hockey coach, but his son, Justin, is lacing up the skates as a prospect for the Anaheim Ducks. Though he does not have the offensive instincts of his father, his 6’6″ frame puts him 6 inches over his dear old dad, and that could be his ticket to the NHL.