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Hockey’s Rick Martin dies at 59

March 13, 2011 |  3:13 pm

Rick Martin, a member of the Buffalo Sabres' famed French Connection line in the 1970s, died after being involved in a one-car accident on Sunday. He was 59.

The team announced Martin's death in a statement before Sunday's game against the Ottawa Senators. New York State Police said Martin died in a one-car crash in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Martin was selected fifth overall by the Sabres in the 1971 draft, and made an impact the following season when he scored what was then an NHL rookie record 44 goals. Martin played left wing on a line that included Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert, which was eventually dubbed The French Connection.

He spent 10-plus seasons with Buffalo before his career was cut short by a severe knee injury in 1980. He was traded to the Los Angeles Kings during the 1980-81 season but only played four games for them.

Martin finished with 384 goals and 317 assists in 685 career NHL games. He added 24 goals and 29 assists in 63 career playoff games.

He was a five-time 40-goal-scorer, and twice surpassed 50 goals. Martin's most productive season was in 1974-75, when he had a career-high 95 points (52 goals, 43 assists) in 68 games.

-- Associated Press