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Report: Sabres were prepared to make Vanek highest-paid player in NHL

Oct 28, 2013, 3:12 PM EDT

vanektgetty Getty Images

The Buffalo Sabres thought so much of winger Thomas Vanek that they were “willing to make him the highest-paid player in the NHL,” according to a report from The Buffalo News.

The News cites an anonymous source with that tidbit, then refers to Vanek’s comments today that suggest the 29-year-old, traded yesterday to the New York Islanders, wanted no part of staying in Buffalo while the Sabres were rebuilding.

“I enjoyed my time there, but I didn’t want to be a part of that,” Vanek told reporters. “We traded pretty much every veteran. The message was clear that they’re going for draft picks. I think our last game we played four teenagers. Good, young players, but young players take time.”

The NHL’s highest-paid player, based on cap hit, is Washington’s Alex Ovechkin ($9,538,462).

It seems hard to fathom the Sabres were prepared to give Vanek as much as Ovechkin is getting now. Then again, they’ve given players big money before, and the cap is expected to rise in the coming years. They certainly could have been thinking in the range that, say, winger Corey Perry (eight years, $8.625 million cap hit) got in Anaheim.

At any rate, it’s a moot point now. Vanek is with the Islanders today and skating with John Tavares.

  1. pxland - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    I wonder if Buffalo is interested in the bridge I’m selling….

  2. ethanmacleod1685 - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    That’s why they need to fire Regier!

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:44 PM

      Why, Vanek is easily the best player in the NHL, with the possible exceptions of Crosby, Stamkos, Ovechkin, St. Louis, Couture, Kessel, Datsyuk, the Sedins, and maybe, at very most a few dozen others.

  3. gnrfan8804 - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Even more respect for vanek now. He spent 8 years in Buff. We had chances to win, but fell short. This team has no chance prob for a few years, and he turns 30 this year. Its good to hear of players who arent all about money. Thanx, vanek, for entertaining us for almost a decade, good luck to u in the years to come. Cant wait to watch u skate with tavares :)

    • storminator16 - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      Just playing Sabres Advocate here: the Sabres never offered Vanek the money they supposedly were prepared to offer. Second, the Sabres were never going to really offer Vanek the money they supposedly were prepared to offer. Finally, Vanek would have happily accepted that offer if they offered the money they supposedly were prepared to offer.

      I will never understand this fairy tale that hockey players aren’t about the money. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have agents and the NHLPA wouldn’t exist.

      • sjshark714 - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:49 PM

        The guy will have already made over 50M by the time this season ends… he will probably push 100M by the time his career is over no matter where he plays. The difference between what Buffalo would’ve paid him and what any GM with a head on their shoulders would pay him probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to him compared to the difference between having a chance to win a cup and struggling through a rebuild.

  4. 2qswing - Oct 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    yeah, highest paid player. And the chiefs are moving to
    Florida right Reggie?

  5. flyerguy73 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Defenitely not worth Ovechkin money!

    • sfbookreviews - Oct 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM

      Agreed. Then again, neither is Ovechkin.

  6. lesterpaul69 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Pegula came to New York State for one reason only. FRACKING. If he had intentions of really investing in the Sabres Franchise he would have canned Darcy Regier. Problem with that is nobody in the League wants anything to do with Buffalo. Buffalo is pathetic. The Fans must be in denial. They fill the stands and Management knows they could have Dancing Poodles on the ice and fans would show. Sports in Western New York has been pathetic and pitiful over 10 years now. Who tolerates that?

    • travishenryskid - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      Just ignore the Harbor Center project, probably the biggest investment in the city in 50 years.

      • lesterpaul69 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        That Taxpayers are suckered into paying for. Good luck with all the Taxpayers cash.

      • travishenryskid - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        No, Lester. Pegula paid for the entire thing out of his own pocket.

    • lesterpaul69 - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Like I said. Dancing Poodles.

  7. travishenryskid - Oct 28, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Starting to think the Sabres have planted false sources with TBN to discredit them. The Miller for Yakupov rumor last week followed by this… TBN looks like they are getting played.

  8. stakex - Oct 28, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Wow…. I think this tells you all you need to know about the management in Buffalo, if its true. I mean Vanek is a good player, but he’s not THAT good and for Buffalo to even consider that is shocking.

  9. capsfan19 - Oct 28, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Vanek’s potential pay > sid and ovi money? Where am i??

    (*entering the twilight zone!)

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