Skip to content

Buffalo’s Miller-Vanek conundrum

Aug 2, 2013, 9:38 AM EDT

Ryan Miller AP

Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek have been Sabres their entire career and both players are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Both players have been stars in Buffalo but now head into this season with a lot of uncertainty.

Buffalo appears ready to move ahead in goal with Jhonas Enroth and Matt Hackett (acquired in the Jason Pominville trade). With Miller on the brink of free agency, some thought GM Darcy Regier would deal Miller to a team in need of a starting goalie.

Instead, Regier played it close to the vest and held onto Miller, making the situation in goal a bit crowded.

Enroth showed during World Championships in May he may be ready to see more starts and even challenge for the starting job. With Hackett waiting in the wings, it would seem Miller’s future in Buffalo isn’t long. That doesn’t play out well to make a solid trade.

Vanek, meanwhile, is a player the Sabres love. If he had a long-term deal he’d be a candidate to be the new team captain. Instead, his current deal and fat salary cap hit made him nearly impossible to deal this summer and puts him in a position he’s not exactly comfortable with.

Regier and Pegula might want to extend Vanek, but he’d likely be the top free agent available this summer and could fetch a huge return at the trade deadline. For a team that’s hoping to win their first Stanley Cup, this isn’t the kind of talk that comes off as encouraging.

It might take the Sabres pushing for a playoff spot in the new Atlantic Division to keep Vanek interested in staying but that could also hurt their ability to deal Miller during the season if need be. Being between a rock and a hard place like this isn’t enviable to anyone, least of all Darcy Regier.

Latest Posts
  1. Boudreau thinks Heatley’s a better fit with Perry/Getzlaf than Penner

    Sep 1, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Minnesota Wild Getty Images

    Last season’s experiment ended with Penner being traded.

  2. Trotz will still cheer for Preds ‘like crazy’

    Aug 31, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Barry Trotz AP

    He continued to follow their summer moves after he was fired.

  3. Lombardi brings Stanley Cup to Snoopy

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:44 PM EDT

    Dean Lombardi AP

    The late creator of Peanuts was a big hockey fan.

  4. Columnist: Schultz deal might complicate Avs’ talks with RFA Barrie

    Aug 31, 2014, 8:26 PM EDT

    Tyson Barrie Getty Images

    The Colorado defenseman is still a restricted free agent.

  5. Scioscia wants MLB to adopt NHL-inspired roster expansion rules

    Aug 31, 2014, 7:03 PM EDT

    Mike Scioscia AP

    “I think that would make it a little more equitable for match-ups.”

  6. Hextall: Advanced statistics small, but meaningful part of Kings’ success

    Aug 31, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT

    Ron Hextall Getty Images

    He served as an assistant general manager in Los Angeles before coming to Philadelphia.

  7. Gagner looking for fresh start in Arizona

    Aug 31, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    Sam Gagner AP

    After matching a career-low in goals during the 2013-14 season, he’s hoping for big things with the Coyotes.

  8. Report: Devils sign Kelly

    Aug 31, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Image (1) NewJerseyDevils_logo-thumb-250x243-22093.gif for post 6122

    Add depth to blue line in Albany.

  9. Hayes sees opportunity with Rangers

    Aug 31, 2014, 12:03 PM EDT

    Kevin Hayes Getty Images

    Hopes to play in the NHL in 2014-15.

  10. Bieksa confident changes have Canucks headed in right direction

    Aug 31, 2014, 10:33 AM EDT

    Kevin Bieksa Getty Images

    After missing the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08, he believes they’ll be back in the postseason in 2014-15.

  11. Leafs’ Kadri aims for more goals in contract year

    Aug 31, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    He’s emphasized a quick shot release the most.

  12. Sharks explain moving Burns back to the blueline

    Aug 31, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Seven Getty Images

    GM Doug Wilson points out that he was acquired to be a “stud defenseman.”

  13. Looking to make the leap: Reid Boucher

    Aug 30, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    Stefan Matteau is in the conversation, too.

  14. Oilers’ Schultz admits it’s too early for Norris talk

    Aug 30, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks Getty Images

    His new deal earned more than a few critics.

  15. Boudreau doesn’t know how Ducks goalie situation will ‘shake out’

    Aug 30, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT

    Bruce Boudreau AP

    Frederik Andersen and John Gibson both have a shot at being No. 1.

  16. What if the Blue Jackets and Johansen don’t reach a deal?

    Aug 30, 2014, 4:05 PM EDT

    Ryan Johansen Getty Images

    The two sides are not budging in contract negotiations.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Bishop (1864)
  2. M. Fleury (1786)
  3. D. Alfredsson (1777)
  4. C. Anderson (1688)
  5. J. Schultz (1360)
  1. J. Boychuk (1294)
  2. D. Setoguchi (1284)
  3. D. Krejci (1270)
  4. E. Staal (1228)
  5. J. Harding (1179)