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Vanek, Miller want to know if they’re part of Buffalo’s future

Apr 4, 2013, 2:05 PM EDT

Goaltender Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres is congratulated by Thomas Vanek #26 after shuting out the Anaheim Ducks 2-0 at Honda Center on February 29, 2012 in Anaheim, California.
(February 28, 2012 - Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Winds of uncertainty are blowing through Buffalo right now, and have hit two of the team’s biggest stars.

Leading scorer Thomas Vanek and starting netminder Ryan Miller — two of the club’s longest-tenured players — say they need to speak with GM Darcy Regier to figure out what the plan is moving forward.

In the past six weeks, Regier fired longtime head coach Lindy Ruff and traded away T.J. Brennan, Robyn Regehr, Jordan Leopold and captain Jason Pominville.

So, what’s next?

“You just regroup and figure out what the plan is moving forward, if you’re part of it or not,” Miller told the Buffalo News. “It’s something I haven’t had a chance to talk to [Regier] about and certainly something I can’t speculate on because I’ve never known what Darcy’s going to do.”

Vanek sounded equally confused as to whether he’ll be a Sabre after this year.

“I haven’t talked to them about anything,” he explained. “It’s hard to say yes or no because no one has let me know what direction this is heading.

“Again, we’ll finish the year out and I’m sure at least I would expect them to let me know what the future is with myself.”

Few teams are more in flux than Buffalo.

The Sabres are playing under an interim head coach — Ron Rolston has no guarantees beyond this season — and are heading into an offseason filled with tough decisions.

The club’s pending UFAs aren’t a big deal (Jochen Hecht, John Scott, Adam Pardy, Alex Sulzer) but the restricted free agents are key.

New deals are needed for Cody Hodgson, Luke Adam and goalie Matt Hackett, acquired in the Pominville trade and believed to be Miller’s possible heir apparent.

There’s also the issue of the draft.

Buffalo’s armed to the teeth with picks — they’ll have two first- and two second-rounders — and could make a push for one of the Big Three: WHL Portland defenseman Seth Jones or one of the two QMHJL Halifax stars, Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin.

If that happens, the youth movement will certainly be in effect.

Which really makes you wonder what’ll happen with Vanek, who turns 30 next year, and Miller, who’s 33 in July.

  1. skillful999 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    “Few teams are more in flux than Buffalo.” Flux. hmm.

  2. sjsharks66 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    I honestly thought miller was going to be traded yesterday.

  3. chanceoffleury1 - Apr 4, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Miller is way too good a goalie to never win a Cup. He probably won’t win one if he stays in Buffalo. It’s a tough situation because it could be a Pittsburgh/Chicago situation where they bust for 3 or 4 years and get a couple of high picks, build around them and win a Cup 5 years after you were the laughing stock of the league or they could just continue to struggle and he’d have to start chasing a cup by being traded around once he turns 36 or 37. He could try somewhere like NJ? They’re pretty competitive year in and year out and will need a new goalie sooner rather than later. Just an idea, but it’s a hard call for a franchise player to decide if he wants to leave or not. And I think that decision will ultimately come down to Miller’s choice next year.

  4. valoisvipers - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Not a good strategy to treat your star players like mushrooms by keeping them in the dark and feeding them a load of crap.

  5. gtmac21 - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Vanek has already stated that he “doesn’t want to be part of a total re-build” and Miller will be looking for the kind of money that would be better spent on a 40 goal scorer. Time to pack your bags boys! don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya!

  6. credible316 - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    I can’t wailt to see Vanek in a Wild sweater!!!

    • nflfan4now - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      I can’t wait to see how the Wild can roster 20 guys next year and stay under the salary cap!

      • credible316 - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:16 PM

        Well…let’s say we amnesty Heatly’s 7.5 drop PMB’s 4, Cullens 3.5 and Backstrom will not be coming back for 7. I could continue if you’d like.

        Line 1 Parise, Koivu, and Vanek.

    • credible316 - Apr 4, 2013 at 4:21 PM

  7. nflfan4now - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    It’s all Pegula’s fault, he needs to FIRE REGIER right now and start the Sabre’s on a true rebuilding path. Regier did what any warm body could have done at the trading deadline, he got plenty of draft picks with the ones he got rid of. Of course he wasn’t competent enough to trade Stafford.
    Step one , dump Regier
    Step two, could a competent person in there to actually put a plan together~!

  8. r4n6er - Apr 4, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    I’d say that if you don’t know the plan then you aren’t part of it…

    • billsin20xx - Apr 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM

      Ez to answer, if you have a GM who doesn’t have a clue…I mean a plan…then no one knows whats going on.
      Pegula’s not stupid, why does he keep Regier there???

      • mormegil49 - Apr 4, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Charles Barkley had your answer almost a decade ago when commenting on how Jerry Krause managed to keep his job as GM of the Chicago Bulls: “Jerry Krause must have pictures of his boss’s wife having sex with a monkey.”

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