Tonawanda News


June 27, 2013

Sabres bid to deal up in NHL draft stalled


Tonawanda News — It's a roster that will be far different than the one that opened this past lockout-shortened season. And there's no guarantee whether Miller and Vanek will continue in their roles as the team's core.

Both stars are entering the final years of their contracts, making them eligible to test free agency next summer. Though Regier and owner Terry Pegula have expressed a desire to re-sign both, they've acknowledged Miller and Vanek will also have a say regarding their futures.

Vanek has already said he has no interest in staying through a lengthy rebuilding process. Vanek has even acknowledged it might be in both parties' best interest if the team traded him.

Though Regier hasn't closed the door on either player, he also hasn't ruled out dealing one or both as early as this weekend for the betterment of the team.

"It's important for us to move in the right direction, but the right direction needs to be organizationally," Regier said. "It won't be about one or two players. It has to transcend that."

The Sabres are in transition after Pegula's free-spending approach failed to produce anything resembling the Stanley Cup contender he envisioned upon purchasing the team in February 2011. And Regier is taking the brunt of blame for assembling a team that's missed the playoffs for the past two seasons, and four of the past six.

Running out of options and patience, Regier was left with little choice but to begin a major overhaul soon after the Sabres stumbled out of the gate in February.

Longtime coach Lindy Ruff was fired after a 6-10-1 start, and Regier followed by purging veteran players with an eye toward the future.

Over the span of five days leading up to the NHL trading deadline in April, the Sabres traded three veterans — including captain Jason Pominville — in exchange for draft picks and prospects.

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