Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alan Haworth

The Buffalo Sabres were perhaps guilty of not being patient enough with one of their talented rookies of the early 1980s in Alan Haworth.

Haworth was a small but sturdy center/winger who quickly emerged as a Sabres prospect after being drafted 95th overall in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft. He would turn professional in 1980-81. He started the year by apprenticing in the minor leagues but quickly would prove he was ready for the next level when he scored an impressive 14 goals and 32 points in just 21 games. The Sabres called him up for the rest of the season. He continued to impress in his rookie NHL season, scoring points against every team in the league except two despite only playing in 49 games. He was a consistent player and by playoffs emerged as one the to-go guys, scoring 4 goals and 8 points in 7 games, good enough for a third place tie among Sabres post-season scoring leaders.

Haworth returned in 1981-82 but his production leveled off. He scored 21 goals and 39 points in 57 games, while also seeing 14 games in the minors. By the end of the year the struggling Haworth was traded to Washington in an exchange of multiple draft picks.

In Washington Alan would develop into a very good player that the Sabres would have liked to have had in their lineup. He became a consistent 25 goal threat while rounding into a solid two way player. In 1985-86 he enjoyed his best year in the NHL, scoring 34 goals and 73 points while posting another 10 points in 9 playoff games. He had great speed and a hard slap shot, but also became a dependable defensive player. His playmaking abilities were underrated, largely because he spent much of his time on one of the wings of a 2nd or 3rd lines.

In 1987-88 Haworth was a key part of one of the biggest trades in NHL history. He, along with fellow native-Quebecer Gaetan Duchesne and a first round draft choice (used to select the wonderful Joe Sakic) were traded to Quebec for goalie Clint Malarchuk and leader Dale Hunter. The move was especially controversial because of Hunter's surprise departure. Haworth, a natural center, was brought in as his replacement. Those were awfully big skates to fill, but Alan did an admirable job, turning in a career second-best 57 point season including 23 goals and 34 assists.

Haworth, the son of long time professional player Gord "Red" Haworth, opted to surprise many when he left the Nordiques after just one season. He ended up going to Switzerland to play 4 seasons with SC Bern before retiring as a player.

Haworth retired with 189 goals, 211 assists and 400 points in 524 NHL games.

No comments:

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP