Mal Davis

Mal Davis ranks as one of the greatest performers for the Buffalo Sabres farm affiliate Rochester Americans.

Mal, a 5'11" 180 pound forward, was quick but slight player who possessed a quick shot which he utilized at every level below the National Hockey League. However he did not take a conventional route to big league hockey. A native of Nova Scotia, Mal played junior hockey in New York state for a period of time before returning to Halifax to attend St. Mary's University where he starred on the hockey team.

Although Canadian university hockey has never been a significant supplier of NHL talent, the Detroit Red Wings offered Davis a free agent contract in 1978. He did appear in 6 NHL games in 1978-79 with the Red Wings, but starred with their Central Hockey League farm team in Kansas City. He scored an impressive 42 goals in his rookie pro season.

Davis spent the next two years with AHL Adirondack Red Wings but aside from a 5 game stint in Detroit, in which he scored his first 2 NHL goals, he seemed destined to be buried in the minor leagues.

That would ultimately change, with the significant event happening just prior to training camp 1981. Davis was again a free agent, and Detroit didn't seem interested in re-signing him.

The Buffalo Sabres did, however.

The move was a great one for Mal, who would become quite a figure with the Rochester Americans, but also would appear in 89 games over parts or 4 seasons with the Sabres.

Mal's first season in the Buffalo organization was spent entirely with Rochester, where he settled in nicely with a 32 goal, 65 point season. However in 1982-83 he erupted with 43 goals in just 57 games in the AHL, and earned himself a lengthy stay in Buffalo. He appeared in 24 games with the big club, and showed that he could play in the NHL by scoring 8 goals and 20 points! He also played in 6 playoff games, and chipped in with a goal.

Despite his impressive progress, Mal couldn't make the Sabres roster the following season of 1983-84. Instead he enjoyed his finest professional season in his career, scoring an Amerk's record breaking 55 goals in 71 games. He added 48 assists for 103 points to lead the Amerks in scoring. He also led the Amerks to the Calder Cup finals with 6 goals and 15 points in 15 AHL playoff contests. For his efforts he was named as the co-winner of the AHL Most Valuable Player award. He did not go without seeing NHL action in his record breaking year. He appeared in 11 games with the Sabres, scoring 2 goals and 1 assist, as well as appearing in 1 playoff game.

Mal, who had a penchant for scoring game winning goals, was rewarded in 1984-85 when he played most of the season in Buffalo. He scored 17 goals and 26 points while participating in 47 contests. He spent only a 6 game appearance in the minors that year, but was often a healthy scratch or battling nagging injuries in his only full NHL season.

Injuries limited Mal to only half a season in 1985-86, most of which was spent in Rochester. He did get into seven NHL games and chipped in what proved to be his final 2 NHL goals.

The Los Angeles Kings claimed Davis off of the waiver wire prior to the 1986-87 season. However he would never play in the NHL again, as he took his high tempo skating game to Europe. From 1986 through 1991 he played for TPS Turku. He spent one final season in 1991-92 with a German second tier team before hanging up the blades.

The interesting career of Mal Davis includes 100 NHL games, 31 goals and 53 points. His best years came in the city Rochester, where he was honored in 2000 with his induction into the Rochester Americans Hall of Fame.


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