1970 NHL Amateur Draft Pick
Round Overall
1 1
Gilbert Perreault
Selected by Buffalo from Montreal (OHA)
Buffalo Sabres Montreal Junior Canadiens
Gilbert Perreault

6-foot-0, 180 pounds

Left-hand shot


Pre-Draft Statistics

Year Team League GP G A TP PIM
1967-68 Montreal OHA 47 15 34 49 10
1968-69 Montreal OHA 54 37 60 97 29
1969-70 Montreal OHA 54 51 70 121 26

Pre-Draft Notes

Played for Thetford Mines (QJHL) in 1966-67 and 1967 Memorial Cup tournament.
Canadian • Born Nov. 13, 1950 in Victoriaville, Quebec • Hometown: Arthabaska, Quebec
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Inducted 1990

Pre-Draft Highlights

Played on line with Rejean Houle and Marc Tardif for Montreal Junior Canadiens in 1968-69. ... Won Memorial Cup with Montreal in 1969. ... Named to OHA All-Star First Team with Montreal in 1968-69. ... Won Memorial Cup as Montreal captain in 1970. ... Led all players in 1970 Memorial Cup in goals (17), assists (21), and points (38). ... Won OHA Red Tilson Trophy as league MVP with Montreal in 1969-70. ... Named to OHA All-Star First Team with Montreal in 1969-70. ... Often compared to Jean Beliveau, he was the consensus top prospect for the 1970 draft. Buffalo won right to choose him at No. 1 in a roulette-wheel lottery on June 10, 1970. There were 20 slots on the wheel, and Vancouver had slots 1-10, while Buffalo had slots 11-20. The number that came up was 11, giving the coveted No. 1 pick of Perreault to Buffalo. Under NHL rules, the first two picks could not be traded. Sabres GM Punch Imlach promptly announced that Perreault would be the No. 1 pick and wear No. 11 for the Sabres.

Video from NHL.com

ABOVE: A look back at the centerpiece of the French Connection.

1970 Draft LotteryScoring 500th GoalRemembering Martin
Legends of HockeySummit Series GoalOn Being Team Captain
Career Highlight ReelHNIC Showdown Clip2010 Interview

Career Vitals

First contract: September 30, 1970
Debut: October 10, 1970
(Buffalo at Pittsburgh)
Final NHL game: November 22, 1986
(Buffalo at Quebec)
Retired: November 24, 1986
Stanley Cup: Never Won
Number: 11 (number retired)

Career NHL Statistics

Team: Buffalo
Years: 1970-1986. Playoffs: 1973-1985

Regular Season
17 years 1,191 512 814 1,326 500
Stanley Cup Playoffs
11 years 90 33 70 103 44
Complete statistics available at NHL.com 

NHL Awards and Honors

1970-71:Calder Trophy, All-Star Game, Sporting News East Division Rookie of Year
1971-72:All-Star Game
1972-73:Lady Byng Trophy
1973-74:All-Star Game (did not play, injury)
1974-75:All-Star Game (did not play, injury)
1975-76:All-Star Second Team
1976-77:All-Star Second Team, All-Star Game
1977-78:All-Star Game
1978-79:Challenge Cup NHL All-Stars
1979-80:All-Star Game
1983-84:All-Star Game

Team Awards and Honors

Dec. 2, 1981, to Nov. 24, 1986
1970-71: Wilkinson Sword Award (team MVP) (inaugural winner), Wayne Larkin Memorial Trophy (fans' MVP) (inaugural winner), Frank Eddolls Memorial Trophy (most popular player) (inaugural winner), Points Leader (72). Goals Leader (38)
1971-72: Frank Eddolls Memorial Trophy (most popular player), Points Leaders (74, tie), Assists Leader (48)
1972-73: Star of Stars Trophy (home 3-stars leader), Frank Eddolls Memorial Trophy (most popular player), Points Leader (88), Assists Leader (60), Playoffs Points Leader (10), Playoffs Assists Leader (7)
1974-75Charley Barton Memorial Silver Stick Award (dedication to game), Playoffs Points Leader (15, tie), Playoffs Assists Leader (9)
1975-76:Star of Stars Trophy (home 3-stars leader), Points Leader (113), Assists Leader (69)
1976-77:Star of Stars Trophy (home 3-stars leader), Points Leader (95), Goals Leader (39), Assists Leader (56), Playoffs Points Leader (9), Playoffs Assists Leader (8)
1977-78:Points Leader (89), Goals Leader (41), Assists Leader (48, tie)
1978-79:Points Leader (85), Assists Leader (58)
1979-80:Star of Stars Trophy (home 3-stars leader), Points Leader (106), Assists Leader (66), Playoffs Points Leader (21), Playoffs Goals Leader (10), Playoffs Assists Leader (11)
1980-81:Playoffs Points Leader (12), Playoffs Assists Leader (10)
1981-82:Points Leader (73), Goals Leader (31), Playoffs Points Leader (7), Playoffs Assists Leader (7)
1982-83: Points Leader (76)
1983-84:Wayne Larkin Memorial Trophy (fans' MVP), Star of Stars Trophy (home 3-stars leader), Points Leader (90), Assists Leader (59)
1984-85:Star of Stars Trophy (home 3-stars leader), Points Leader (83), Assists Leader (53, tie), Playoffs Points Leader (8), Playoffs Assists Leader (5, tie)


1,000th Game: January 29, 1984
(Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh)
1,000th Point: April 3, 1982 (assist)
(Buffalo at Montreal)
300th Goal:April 5, 1979
(Buffalo at Boston)
400th Goal: November 7, 1982
(Buffalo vs. Vancouver)
500th Goal:March 9, 1986
(Buffalo vs. New Jersey)
500th Assist: January 26, 1980
(Buffalo at Montreal)
600th Assist: March 20, 1982
(Buffalo at Boston)
700th Assist: February 9, 1984
(Buffalo vs. New Jersey)
800th Assist: March 12, 1986
(Buffalo at Chicago)
100th Playoff Point: April 14, 1985 (assist)
(Buffalo vs. Quebec)
100-Point Seasons:1975-76 (113), 1979-80 (106)

Team Records

Buffalo Sabres Records
Most career seasons: 17
Most career games: 1,191
Most career points: 1,326
Most career goals: 512
Most career assists: 814
Most career game-winners: 81
Most career shots: 3,079
Most 20-goal seasons: 15
Most 30-goal seasons: 10
Most career PIM by a center: 500
Most points, one game: 7 (2 goals, 5 assists)
(2/1/76 at California)
Most assists, one game: 5 (3x) (shares record)
(2/1/76 at California)
(3/9/80 vs. St. Louis)
(1/4/84 vs. Winnipeg)
Longest point streak: 18 games
(10/24/71 to 12/4/71)
Longest assist streak: 11 games
(12/23/84 to 1/13/85)
Most career playoff games: 90
Most career playoff points: 103
Most career playoff goals: 33
Most career playoff assists: 70
Most career playoff
game-winning goals:
5 (shares record
with Danny Gare)
Most points, one playoff year: 21 in 1980
Most goals, one playoff year: 10 in 1980
Most shots, one playoff year: 66 in 1975
Most assists,
one playoff series:
7 (2x) (shares record)
(1973 vs. Montreal)
(1982 vs. Boston)
Most assists,
one playoff game:
4 (2x) (shares record)
(4/17/80 vs. Chicago)
(4/10/82 vs. Boston)
Most shots in a single Stanley Cup Finals series: 23 in 1975
vs. Philadelphia

Life Outside the NHL

Also Known as: Gil Perreault

Career Beyond Hockey: Went into real estate business after retirement in mid-1980s before beginning to work with Victoriaville (QMJHL) full-time in 1988.

Family: Cousin of former NHL goaltender Bob Perreault.

Brief First Retirement

Perreault initially announced his retirement from the NHL on June 17, 1986, even though the Sabres were hopeful that he would come back for another season. During that summer, the NHL and NHLPA negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with significantly better pensions for retired players who had played at least 20 games after the start of the 1986-87 season. The CBA was finalized in August 1986, and within a few weeks of its ratification, Perreault elected to return to the Sabres for training camp in September 1986. He made that official when he re-signed with the team on Sept. 8. Prior to the ratification of the new CBA, however, Perreault had considered trying to sign with another team, but the Sabres made him a qualifying offer so they would receive compensation if he did that. When the new CBA came through, and Perreault decided to resume playing, he had no choice but to accept Buffalo's offer for the 1986-87 season since the Sabres had the right to match and no team wanted to risk compensation. Perreault played in the team's first 20 games, scoring 16 points, before abruptly deciding to retire for good. His decision was certainly influenced by having reached the 20-game minimum, but he was also adamant that at age 36 he felt that he was no longer capable of playing up to his standards and was too old to stay in the NHL.

The 1972 Summit Series

At the age of 21, Perreault was honored by being named a member of the Team Canada squad that faced the Soviet Union in the legendary 1972 Summit series. Perreault was among the team's younger players with only two full NHL seasons under his belt, but he managed to play in two games during the series, scoring a goal and adding an assist. He scored Canada's first goal to cut the lead to 2-1 in his series debut on Sept. 8 -- a 5-3 loss to the Soviets at Vancouver. He then played in the first game at Moscow, Game 5 of the series, on Sept. 22. Canada would lose that game 5-4 on a late Soviet goal, long after Perreault assisted on the game's first goal by J.P. Parise. However, Perreault and some other players were not happy with the conditions in Russia or the way they were being treated on the team. As a result, after Game 5, Perreault joined Vic Hadfield, Rick Martin, and Jocelyn Guevremont in flying home to North America. The decision to leave was based largely on Canadian coach Harry Sinden's declaring within team circles that several players, including these four, would not be playing in any more games in the series. With no reason to stay and an incentive to come home for training camp, the players left. Canada went on to win the series in the dramatic final game. As part of Team Canada, Perreault was honored with induction into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame alongside his Summit Series teammates in 2005.

Career Highlights

Also played left wing during his NHL career. ... Played on first Buffalo Sabres team during franchise's inaugural season of 1970-71, and made his NHL debut in team's first game on Oct. 10, 1970. He scored his first NHL goal on a power play at 11:36 of the third period of that game, breaking a 1-1 tie to give Buffalo its first victory. The goal was also the first power-play goal in franchise history. ... Scored the first hat trick in Buffalo Sabres history on Jan. 29, 1971, at California, beating Gary Smith for all three goals. ... Set NHL and Buffalo records (since broken) for goals (38) and points (72) by a rookie in 1970-71. He broke Danny Grant's previous record of 65 points with an assist on a goal by Don Marshall in Buffalo's March 28, 1971, game vs. Minnesota. He broke the previous record of 34 goals (shared by Grant, Nels Stewart, and Norm Ferguson by scoring on a power play at 15:43 of the second period in Buffalo's March 18, 1971, game vs. St. Louis. ... Became first Buffalo Sabres player to win a major NHL award when he won Calder Trophy as league's rookie of the year in 1970-71. ... Was first Calder Trophy winner in 10 years to score more points in hs second season than in his rookie year, when he scored 74 points (up from 72) in 1971-72. ... Named Buffalo alternate captain prior to 1971-72 season and served in that role through the 1976-77 season. ... Set NHL record (since broken) for goals by a player in his first three seasons when he finished the 1972-73 season with a total of 92 career goals. ... Named NHL Player of Week for week ending Jan. 6, 1974, after scoring three goals and seven assists in four games. ... Played on Buffalo team that went to 1975 Stanley Cup Finals before losing to Philadelphia. ... Finished third in NHL with career-high 113 points for Buffalo (team record, since broken) in 1975-76. ... Set Buffalo record (since broken) with career-high 69 assists in 1975-76. ... Scored at 3:55 of overtime to win NHL All-Star Game for Wales Conference on Jan. 24, 1978, on his home ice in Buffalo. ... Finished fourth in NHL with 106 points in 1979-80. ... Named to Canada Cup All-Star Team for 1981 tournament after scoring three goals and nine points in only four games prior to being injured and missing the final three. At the time he was hurt, he was leading the entire tournament in scoring. ... Passed Rick Martin to become Buffalo's all-time goals leader with his 383rd career goal -- a game-winner at 12:56 of the third period -- on Feb. 17, 1982, at Chicago. ... Became first player in Buffalo history to score 1,000 points for the Sabres with an assist on Andre Savard's game-winning goal at 19:40 of the third period on April 3, 1982, at Montreal. ... Became the 12th player in NHL history to score 500 career goals on March 9, 1986. .. Retired from NHL in late November 1986 ranked seventh on league's all-time points list (one slot behind Wayne Gretzky), eighth on league's all-time assists list,, and 12th on all-time goals list. ... Inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 1989. ... Inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1991.

Retired Sweater Number

The Sabres first attempted to retire Perreault's No. 11 during the 1988-89 season, but Perreault refused to be part of any ceremony, in part because he was upset with the team for not offering him a role in the organization upon his retirement as a player. As a result, it was not until the 1990-91 season that No. 11 was officially retired, even though no Sabres player had worn it after Perreault. During a special pregame ceremony before the Sabres' Oct. 17, 1990, home game vs. the Montreal Canadiens, Perreault became the first former Sabres player to have his number officially retired. The No. 2, worn by the late Tim Horton, had been unofficially retired following Horton's death, but was not officially retired until 1996. Thus, No. 11 was the first number to be sent up to the Memorial Auditorium rafters. The emotional sweater-retirement ceremony formally recognized Perreault as Buffalo's greatest NHL superstar, and it was visibly difficult for him to prevent himself from crying. Part of the emotion stemmed from the difficult relationship he had with the Sabres following retirement. The mending of fences had begun in September 1990, when Perreault was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. At that time, the team again reached out to him about a pregame ceremony in Buffalo. Perreault, who received no money for being part of the ceremony, agreed to go through with it as long as the Sabres promised to consider him for a future job in the organization in the event that he was no longer head coach and general manager of the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL). That promise was fulfilled several years later when Perreault rejoined the Buffalo organization as a corporate and community relations liaison.

The French Connection

At the start of the 1972-73 season, Perreault was put on a line with Richard "Rick" Martin and Rene Robert. The chemistry between the players was instantaneous, and they were soon dubbed "The French Connection" because all three players were French-Canadians from the province of Quebec. The trio would play together for the next seven seasons and were widely recognized as one of the best lines in NHL history. On Nov. 15, 1995, the Sabres recognized the French Connection's historic contribution by becoming the first NHL team to retire the numbers of an entire line at once. Perreault's No. 11 had already been retired five years earlier, but it was brought down from the rafters to be sent up again between Martin (No. 7) and Robert (No. 14) in a special ceremony prior to a Sabres' home game vs. the Dallas Stars. Fittingly the three numbers were the last ones to go to the Memorial Auditorium rafters before the Sabres moved into a new arena for the 1996-97 season. On Oct. 12, 2012, the legendary trio was once again honored with the unveiling of a statue in Buffalo's Alumni Plaza.

International Tournaments

1976:Canada Cup (won championship)
1981:Canada Cup (second place)

Significant Injuries

Missed part of 1973-74 season with broken left fibula, suffered when he collided with teammate Mike Robitaille in Oct. 28, 1973, game vs. N.Y. Islanders. He did not return until Dec. 23 vs. Pittsburgh. ... Missed part of 1974-75 season with severely strained left knee, suffered during Jan. 12, 1975, game vs. Vancouver. He did not return until Feb. 12 at Pittsburgh. ... Missed part of 1980-81 season with broken ribs, suffered sliding into goal post after being tripped by Pat Ribble during Jan. 24, 1981, game at Washington. He did not return until March 17 e at Los Angeles. ...    Missed 1981 training camp and start of 1981-82 season with broken right ankle, suffered during Canada's Sept. 7, 1981, Canada Cup game vs. Sweden at Montreal. He got hurt after scoring the eventual game-winner at 6:55 of the third. With Canada up 4-2, he collided with linemate Wayne Gretzky. On Sept. 8, he underwent surgery to have a pin inserted into his ankle. He did not make his 1981-82 debut until Nov. 18, 1981, game at Chicago. ... Missed part of 1983-84 season with back spasms, suffered in Buffalo's March 4, 1984, game vs. Quebec. He did not return until March 24 game at New Jersey. ... Missed 1984 playoffs due to re-aggravation of cracked bone in right hand, duffered in tregular-season finale on April 1, 1984, at Toronto. The injury ended his streak of having played in all of the Sabres' first 85 playoff games. ... Missed part of 1984-85 season with broken knuckle, suffered during Buffalo's Dec. 5, 1984, game vs. Boston. ... Missed four games of 1985-86 season with bruised foot, suffered during Buffalo's Dec. 21, 1985, game at Montreal.

Non-Playing Career

Became a part owner and general manager of Victoriaville (QMJHL) when it entered the league in 1987 and held a stake in the team into the early 1990s. ... Named Buffalo corporate and community relations liasion (effectively a team ambassador) in July 1997 and continues to hold this position.
Named Victoriaville (QMJHL) head coach on June 17, 1988, and remained in that position until May 1989 when he resigned for personal reasons, calling it a "frustrating" job. ... Named Victoriaville (QMJHL) head coach on May 10, 1990, and remained in that position until Jan. 9, 1991, when he resigned after his team tied a QMJHL record with 19 consecutive losses.


Selected by Los Angeles Sharks in 1972 WHA Draft, the first-ever WHA Draft, in February 1972. Considered one of the finest stick-handlers of his era, he was known for great up-ice rushes. Negotiated with Quebec prior to WHA's first season, but re-signed with Buffalo on July 2, 1972. Kept out of the 1974 NHL All-Star Game because he was at risk for re-injuring his ankle.
WHA rights taken by Cleveland from Michigan-Baltimore in 1975 WHA Dispersal Draft. Played on line with Guy Lafleur and Marcel Dionne for Canada in inaugural 1976 Canada Cup. Paired with Andre Savard as a penalty-killer for Buffalo during 1976-77 season. Was last of the original Buffalo Sabres players still with the team by start of 1977-78 season.
Began wearing a helmet during the 1977-78 season after seven years without using one. Played on line with Guy Lafleur and Wayne Gretzky for Canada in 1981 Canada Cup tourney. Played on line with Dave Andreychuk and Mike Foligno for Buffalo in 1983-84. Recorded 18 career hat tricks with Buffalo to rank second on team's all-time list.
Served as head coach of QMJHL All-Stars in January 1989 game vs. OHL All-Stars. Continued to play in charity games as member of the Buffalo Sabres Alumni team. Victoriaville named its hockey arena the Ampitheatre Gilbert Perreault in his honor. Ranked by The Hockey News in 1997 as the 47th greatest NHL player of all time.
Total Selected: 115
Forwards: 67
Defense: 36
Goaltenders: 12
Major Junior: 87
College Players: 18
Canadian: 109
Euro-Canadian: 0
American: 6
European: 0
Reached NHL: 62
Won Stanley Cup: 12
Hall of Fame: 3
All-Star Game: 11
Year-end All-Star: 4
Olympians: 2
Picks Traded: 13


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