The Buffalo Sabres are six days away from their regular season opener, next Thursday at KeyBank Center against the Ottawa Senators.

On Friday, however, the team announced that one of their first goaltenders passed away.

The Sabres announced that Dave Dryden passed away at the age of 81.

Dryden was on the original Sabres roster, during the 1970-1971 season. He played in 10 games that season, as most of the workload was handled by Roger Crozier and Joe Daley.

Dryden steadily played more games for the season until the 1973-1974 season, when he played 53 games and won 23.

He also played for the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers. In fact, most of his years in Edmonton was when they were part of the old WHA league, before those teams were absorbed by the NHL.

Dryden's final season for the Oilers was played back in the NHL. He was a teammate of Wayne Gretzky, who scored 51 goals and 137 points that season.

Dave Dryden was the older brother of Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden, who spent years as the star goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. In fact, Dave and Ken faced one another in 1971, when the Sabres played the Canadiens, which was the first time that brothers ever played one another as goaltenders in NHL history.

Dave Dryden is often mentioned as one of the original Sabres and someone I first heard about from my dad, when he would talk glowingly about those early-to-mid 1970s teams when the Sabres had Gilbert Perreault and the French Connection.

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