Pat LaFontaine was appointed president of hockey operations for the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 13, 2013. In this role, he will work with Sabres assistant general manager Kevin Devine on day-to-day hockey operations while also conducting the search for the Sabres’ next general manager.
LaFontaine joins the Sabres after beginning the 2013-14 season as vice president of development and community affairs for the National Hockey League. In addition, he worked as a hockey analyst for MSG Networks beginning in 2010 and also served a brief stint as senior advisor to the owner for the New York Islanders in 2006.
As a player, LaFontaine enjoyed an illustrious 15-year NHL career, including six seasons with the Sabres, before retiring from the league in 1998 as the second highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history with 468 goals and 1,013 points in 865 games. Today, he ranks sixth among all Americans in goals and ninth in points, and his 1.17 points-per-game average ranks 11th among the 79 1,000-point scorers in NHL history.
LaFontaine was selected third overall in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft by the Islanders and played the better part of eight seasons with the club from 1983-1991. On October 25, 1991, he was then dealt to the Sabres, along with Randy Wood, Randy Hillier and a fourth-round pick in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft (Dean Melanson), in exchange for Pierre Turgeon, Benoit Hogue, Uwe Krupp and Dave McLlwain.
Overall, LaFontaine played with the Sabres from 1991-1997, finishing with 385 points (158+227) in 268 games with the team. He had a career year for Buffalo in 1992-93 when he set Sabres records for points (148) and assists (95) in a season. After being sidelined with a knee injury for most of the 1993-94 season, he returned as team captain in 1994-95 and was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey.
After being traded by the Sabres to the New York Rangers on September 29, 1997 in exchange for a second-round choice in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft (Andrew Peters), LaFontaine finished his playing career during the 1997-98 season when he tallied 62 points (23+39) in 67 games. He is one of five players to have played for all three NHL clubs in the state of New York (Sabres, Rangers, Islanders).
LaFontaine was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003, the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 2004 as well as the Nassau County Sports Hall of Fame in 2007. The Sabres officially retired his jersey number (16) in 2006.