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Buffalo Sabres

Sabres First Round Failures #3



The Buffalo Sabres have had some major successes in the NHL Draft, starting with their first franchise selection of Gilbert Perreault, to Hall-of-Famers Tom Barrasso and Pierre Turgeon, to their most recent top overall picks of Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power, but where there is success, there is inevitably failure. For the next entry on the list of Sabres first-round failures, we look at a winger that never played a game in the Buffalo organization.

#3 Morris Titanic

Sabres GM George “Punch” Imlach had a remarkable record for successfully drafting in the first three years of the franchise’s history. Imlach chose Hockey Hall-of-Famer Gilbert Perreault with the first overall selection in 1970, hit on three picks in wingers Richard Martin, Craig Ramsay, and defenseman Bill Hajt in 1971, and three more NHLers in Jim Schoenfeld, Larry Carriere, and sixth-rounder Peter McNab in 1972, but that success ended in 1973.

Of the Sabres eight draft picks, only one played in the NHL and that was 1973 first-rounder Morris Titanic. The Toronto native exploded in his third season in the OHA (the precursor to the Ontario Hockey League) for the Sudbury Wolves, leading them with 121 points (61 goals, 60 assists). Titanic was selected 12th overall ahead of Rick Middleton (Rangers) and Ian Turnbull (Maple Leafs) as a 20-year-old and scored 31 goals in his first American Hockey League season with Cincinnati. In his second pro season, he split time between the AHL and the Sabres but went scoreless in 17 NHL games in a year when Buffalo went to their first Stanley Cup Final, losing to Philadelphia in six games.

Titanic’s totals declined the following year (19 points in 35 AHL games with Hershey) and scoreless in only two games with Buffalo, due in part to back issues that required spinal fusion surgery. His recovery cost him the entire 1976-77 season and when he returned the following year, his game suffered. After a successful year in the lower-level International Hockey League, Titanic returned to AHL in 1979, but a knee injury suffered with Rochester ended his career prematurely at the age of 27.