The Buffalo Sabres expect Ryan Miller to be on their roster next week. General manager Darcy Regier is in no rush to trade his No. 1 goaltender.
But he will use the weekend to start establish trade values for Miller and winger Thomas Vanek, since the Sabres are retooling and both those players are heading toward unrestricted free agency in 2014.
“I entered this weekend recognizing that they both are in the last year of their contracts, and I have a responsibility to see what that means both with those players and also within the marketplace,” Regier told the Buffalo News “Unless you’re a highly competitive team, it’s very difficult to have players on your roster whose contracts are going to expire if you either choose not to or don’t have the ability to re-up them.
“Just to lose those assets, you try to get a sense of what the marketplace is like, and that’s a process that’s ongoing. I expect it will continue to move through the draft into maybe free agency and maybe beyond that. We’re actively keeping our finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the league, and we’ll have to just make our decision.”
With the eighth and 16th pick in this deep NHL Draft, the Sabres can start rebuilding today. Dealing Miller and/or Vanek for younger talent could expedite the process.
The Sabres figure to get more play on Vanek, since many teams are eager to add a proven scorer. The market for goaltending is far less certain, as the Los Angeles Kings discovered while getting a meager return in the Jonathan Bernier trade.