Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!

Vanek Training For Return To Sabres

July 24, 2013, 7:14 PM ET [141 Comments]
NHL news by Garth • RSSArchiveCONTACT
KSTP TV in Minneapolis caught up with Sabres sniper Thomas Vanek at the University of Minnesota where Vanek was skating on Wednesday. On the positive tip, Vanek says that he hopes that the teams has the right players in place in order make some noise this season. I like that he mentions the failure of the former Sabres "core", which consisted of his friend and former next door neighbor Jason Pominville. Pominville was shipped to the Wild at the 2013 trade deadline, leaving Vanek and Miller as the two final "core guys" left in Buffalo. "Core" refers to the group of players that came up together from Rochester after the 2005 lockout (Gaustad, Roy, Pominville, Roy, Vanek, Miller, Tallinder). Darcy Regier opted to build his team around the "core" and the experiment didn't work out so well. So, here we are today. CTL-ALT-DEL.

Time for the wholesale change on the fly.

Not surprisingly, the 29 year old veteran LW doesn't considering the Sabres to be a contender right now. Like all NHLers, Vanek wants to play for a Cup contending team. Like you, Vanek wants the Sabres, namely Darcy Regier, to step up and make moves that will make them a contender, just like many of the teams in Buffalo's newly re-aligned division have done this summer.

Thanks to Shawn Stepner from Channel 7 Eyewitness News in Buffalo for the video.

Vanek doesn't sound ambivalent or upset to me, which is a good thing. The emotions of locker clean out day have passed and he's thinking about the future with Buffalo.

Vanek says that as of right now he expects to be back in Buffalo for opening night. Vanek says that he's training with the thought of going back to Buffalo.

He's taking it day by day this summer.

He says that if a trade happens, then he'll go wherever he's told to go.

Vanek appears to be unimpressed with the trade with New Jersey to bring Hank Tallinder back to Buffalo. That, and signing four RFAs in Hackett, Adam, Flynn, and Crawford are all of the non-entry draft roster moves that Regier has completed in the past month.

Vanek appears to be saying: "Show me. Don't tell me."

He likes the draft choices that the Sabres have made, he just hopes that they selected the right ones.

Not much has changed in the past 87 days since the Sabres cleaned out their lockers and then boarded planes to their summer residences. Darcy Regier was aggressive at the NHL Entry Draft, however, has sat idle during the unrestricted free agency period.

Thanks, sabres.com

Regier may want to change Vanek's perception that Buffalo is a re-building team by signing his centerman, Cody Hodgson, and adding a UFA or two Vanek's perception is his reality.

I asked Vanek's agent, Steve Bartlett for an update his client's status and was told:

"Nothing new".

Vanek has one year ( $7,142,857) remaining on his current contract with the Sabres. The team has not made him an offer to extend his career in Buffalo, nor have they traded him away for a fistful of assets. At of the close of business of Wednesday, Darcy Regier is sitting pretty with $10.5 million in available cap space for 2013-14. Regier has 21 contracts signed for 2013-14. He signed RFAs Brian Flynn and Nick Crawford last week. Former Matt Hackett and Luke Adam signed one year contracts earlier this week, leaving Vanek's centerman, Cody Hodgson, as Buffalo's lone unsigned RFA. Amerks winger and Sabres hopeful Corey Tropp is also RFA. Both players will be re-signed by the team. When? Its anyone's guess.

It appears more and more likely that Vanek will be reporting to Buffalo Sabres training camp in mid September.

Which is fine by me. Snipers with 30+goals in the composite sticks don't come around these parts very often. When you get one, especially on in his prime, you have to do everything in your power to keep him. Truth.

However, its not up to me, you, or the kid in the Tim Horton's drive thru to determine whether or not Vanek stays long term or if he's traded away to in order continue to pursue his quest for Lord Stanley's Cup.

That decision rests squarely on Darcy Regier's shoulders. As does the decision to add tier two unrestricted free agents. I've reached out to the agents for Brenden Morrow, Damien Brunner, and Mikhail Grabovski, however, I've yet to hear back from them. The UFA market has come to a screeching halt in the past two weeks. For what reason, I don't know. Regier can't blame that arbitration market for the silence in UFA signings because the Sabres don't have any arb-eligible players. Besides, players like Sam Gagner, Chris Stewart, Bryan Little (and others ) are collaborating with their teams, and are opting to forgo the tedious and messy arbitration process in order to work out mutually beneficial deals on their own, without the middle man involved. Of the 21 arbitration hearings scheduled to date, none have gone through.

As for the UFAs, Morrow's agent told me last week that the Sabres are interested in the veteran winger and the two sides will speak again soon. As for Brunner and Grabovski, its not known at this time if the Sabres have inquired about the services of either one of the players. Why they wouldn't want to take a shot at Brunner is beyond me. The kid is a rock star and Buffalo's style would suit him very well. He's a winger, and the Sabres need more scoring and playing making their wings. Grabovski is a center, and the Sabres already have a crowded mosh pit in that area of their roster.

Join the Discussion: » 141 Comments » Post New Comment
» Hailing Taxis
» He With The Gold Makes The Rules
» Sedentary Seven
» The Sedentary Seven
» GadZuccs