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The Buffalo Sabres' draft history is coming up, as the 1980s saw the addition of some iconic players to the team. On the other hand, the Sabres struggled to draft good players and replenish the talent pool in the second half of the decade. A failed and a successful defector, a league record holder and the brother of the greatest player in NHL history all made their mark on the decade's drafts.

Hall-of-Famer Scotty Bowman remained general manager until his resignation in December 1986. He was succeeded by former Sabres captain Gerry Meehan, who held the role for the next decade.

We'll continue to highlight the best and worst picks of each decade in this series, starting with the best.

Best Sabres Draft Picks

Dave Andreychuk

Year of design: 1982

Round 1

Total: 16

The Sabres had three first-round selections in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft, namely the 6th, 9th and 16th picks. Their last pick was perhaps their best, as Dave Andreychuk became one of the best goal scorers in NHL history.

Andreychuk played a total of 12 seasons for the Sabres – 11 early in his career and a second season that lasted one season. His 24-year career is an accomplishment in itself, but he scored an incredible 20 or more goals in 20 of those seasons. When he finished his career, he held the all-time record with 274 power-play goals. Alexander Ovechkin has since surpassed the record.

Phil Housley was selected 6th overall that same season, joining Andreychuk in marking the only time the Sabres selected two future Hall of Famers in the same draft.

Alexander Mogilny

Year of design: 1988

Round: 5

Total: 89

Bringing Alexander Mogilny to the United States was a risky move, but the reward was enormous. With 76 goals, he holds the franchise record for most goals in a single season. Mogilny also averaged well over a point per game in his six seasons in Buffalo.

Selected eight picks ahead of legendary Sabres enforcer Rob Ray, Mogilny proved to be one of the most lucrative bets in Sabres history. The risk, of course, was that he fled the USSR and CSKA Moscow before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

He was also involved in one of the biggest trades in franchise history after the Sabres ran into financial trouble. Mogilny was traded to the Vancouver Canucks along with a fifth-round draft pick for Michael Peca, Mike Wilson and a 1995 first-round pick that became Jay McKee.

Donald Audette

Year of design: 1989

Round: 9

Total: 183

Donald Audette went unnoticed for most of his career, which is why the Sabres were able to draft him so late. It wasn't often that a ninth-round pick made it into the NHL, which led to the league limiting the draft to just seven rounds.

Audette was the exception to the norm, quietly scoring 509 points in 735 NHL games. Like Andreychuk, he had a brief second stint with the Sabres after playing nine seasons in Buffalo earlier in his career.

In addition to the Sabres, Audette also spent time in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Montreal and Florida.

News: 3 important insights from Adams and Forton Presser

Worst draft picks of the Sabres

Jiří Dudacek

Year of design: 1981

Round 1

Total: 17

If you're wondering who Jiri Dudacek is, it's because he's never played a single NHL game. Being the 17th pick in 1981 certainly isn't ideal.

Dudacek played for his native Czechoslovakia at the 1980 World Junior Championships before being drafted. However, Czechoslovakia was a communist country at the time, which prevented him from traveling to North America. His father was a member of the Communist Party, and Bowman's lobbying of country officials to allow him to participate was rejected.

Dudacek played 13 seasons in the Czechoslovak Extraliga and parts of three more across Europe before finally ending his career.

Keith Gretzky

Year of design: 1985

Round: 3

Total: 56

Yes, the Sabres drafted a Gretzky. Yes, Keith is Wayne Gretzky's brother. No, he never played in the NHL.

Keith Gretzky played two seasons for the Rochester Americans before moving to the ECHL and Europe. He is currently the assistant general manager of the Edmonton Oilers.

Joel Savage

Year of design: 1988

Round 1

Total: 13

The 1988 first round was loaded with top talent, including Mike Modano, Trevor Linden, Jeremy Roenick, Rod Brind'Amour and Teemu Selanne. Unfortunately for Buffalo, all five finished in the top 10.

The Sabres selected Joel Savage 13th overall, and the forward played just three games for the Sabres. They were the only three games of his NHL career. He spent some time with Rochester in the AHL, then moved to the IHL and eventually moved on to Europe.

Must read: The Sabres' best and worst draft picks of the 1970s

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