Updates on the Sabres – Sunday, May 5, 2013.

Could Thomas Vanek follow Jason Pominville to the Minnesota Wild? Should the Sabres try to move up in the first round? Could they shop draft picks for roster depth? Read on for the latest.

Could Vanek join the Wild next summer?

Could Thomas Vanek join the Wild next summer?

THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl reports his paper’s analysis suggests it would be better for the Sabres to trade up in the first round (they currently hold the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft) if they hope to land a quality player. He noted only twice in the last 25 years has a team holding the eighth overall pick traded up, and in both cases it was worthwhile. The NY Islanders did it in 1992 and selected Darius Kasparaitis, and the Carolina Hurricanes did it in 2004 and selected Andrew Ladd.

Bucky Gleason reports he wouldn’t be surprised if Thomas Vanek wound up with the Minnesota Wild once his contract expires next summer, suggesting he might be willing to accept less money to play there. Vanek’s wife is from Minnesota and he spends his off-seasons there.

BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Sabres GM Darcy Regier has “stockpiled a bunch of draft picks”, which he hinted could be dealt to land some high-end talent, similar to the moves made by the LA Kings to acquire Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen, of course, what moves Regier has in mind, but if his moves leading up to this season’s trade deadline were any indication, he intends to be bold. He could try to move up in the first round, but it takes two to tango, and given the talent available in the top five of this year’s draft, those ahead of him might be unwilling to deal. It’s also expected he’ll try to shop Ryan Miller, and there could certainly be interest in Vanek.  The winger might be interested in going back to Minnesota, where he played his college hockey, but considering the Wild currently have over $30 million invested in only eight players for 2014-15, they probably can’t afford Vanek unless they drop salary elsewhere.


  1. He can try to move up and possibly there could be a major trade in the works but not regarding Vanek or Miller, but what about Tyler Myers? Tampa could be listening.

    • Tyler Myers is worthless to deal right now. His stock couldn’t be anymore lower

    • I can’t see them giving up on this kid….yet. Darcy commented this past week on the radio that he is going to be more involved in ensuring the kids get into better shape during the off season and stay that way. One could only assume that his reference was towards Myers.

      If Darcy pulls a big trade for picks plus gets to move up in the draft I will be shocked. What I really think will happen is he will use almost all of the draft picks in the draft and pick up a 3rd line guy to sell to the fans as a second or first line guy. (see Leino)

      Oh and I don’t expect a new coach either. That would be very unlike Darcy.

      • Myers has a NMC and isn’t going anywhere unless he is either bought out or agrees to be traded. I can see something like Myers for Briere – wherea Philly might believe that Myers can fill the void they are missing on D – thinking a change in environment/coaching might resurrect the potential that we all saw his first couple of seasons. Thing is, Myers is only 23 and its just too soon to give up on him based on two injury plagued seasons. The potential is there – but it would give Philly the option of trading Danny instead of buying him out and also fill a void in their D. On the other hand, Buffalo has a good crop of d-men who are young and getting Briere would give them some leadership, scoring and mentoring for our youngsters

        • I doubt very much Briere would waive his NTC just to go back to Buffalo where when his contract was up couldn’t get out of town fast enough. Although he would cost only 3 and 2 million the next two years, his cap hit is still 6.5 million and I don’t believe many or any team is very interested in acquiring him. I as a GM wouldn’t acquire Myers either until he has a good year to prove he is over his injury concerns unless I could get him for very little.

      • Leino is funny – I can see a lot of potential with him and chemistry when he is playing – the thing is we haven’t really seen a good season out of him where he has gotten into a “groove” of playing – either lines were shuffled and he was playing Center/Wing/Center/Wing and wasn’t given the opportunity to gel with his linemates or he was injured (like this year). Hard to judge just what he brings to the table based on those two years. I would say he might be a good candidate for a buyout, but than again if Buffalo were to land Briere – they had chemistry. Could you imagine a line with Briere, Leino and Vanek, Ennis, Gerbe or Foligno? Opens the doors to a lot of possibilities.

        • I think your dreaming if you think Leino is going to be much more than he is right now. Why do you think Detroit and the Flyers let him go without nothing more than a “don’t let the door hit you on the way out”

          • I’ve seen glimpses of the talent Leino possesses but it is shortlived because he was either shuffled to another line or injured. Makes me wonder if he just has “f**cked luck” or just not built for the game. I would probably keep him around to see what he can do next year as $4.5MM is not a deal breaker for a year. If anything I would look at Myers for a buyout or trade. While I don’t think Briere wants to leave Philly – he might be convinced to waive his NMC as Buffalo is under different ownership, he and his family are familiar with the area and Bflo can use his leadership, scoring and mentoring skills. In reality – a Briere/Myers trade makes sense and sounds a little out there, but stranger things have happened.

      • Remember how crappy Chara was for his first three years? Give TM some time.

  2. Where is Minny getting all of this cap room?

    • Nothing is stopping them from trading or buying out Heatly’s last year. That would free up $7.5 mill to go along with their $9 mill they already have next year.

  3. i think there could be trading partners if buffalo wanted to move up. their are a number of teams ahead of them that would be better suited getting immediate help rather than a stud 3-4 years down the road. tampa bay, nashville, carolina, might all be interested in swapping picks with the sabres if they could get a roster player for sliding back a few spaces.

    couple of things. i’m not sure why buffalo would want to move up a handful of spaces, but i think they could. two, by most everyone’s account the this years first-round will be a bumper crop with a bunch of can’t miss nhlers. third, there’s good chance that anyone taken in the top five could play next year in the nhl so tb, car, and nsh might be content to keep their spots with spots of slotting that draftee into next year’s line-up.

    • Buffalo wants to move up to 3 or 4 to get their hands on drouin, MacKinnon, Barkov, or jones. Doesn’t matter which one they get. They would like to get Barkov because they then would have an all Finland line in Leino Barkov and armia ( who joins the team next year)

      Their moveable pieces are miller, stafford, Vanek, and Ennis, and they could move grigorenko.

      Tampa bay, Nashville, and Carolina teams are ones that want to go or it in the next 2-3 yrs. Nashville had a ton of injuries this year…but the core of their team is at that peak ages of 23-27.. So they can’t wait 3 years for their first pick. Same true with the other teams of needing to win now and not wait.

      I see with Nashville it would be stafford or Ennis is dealt to move up to #3 or #4… Vanek ould be moved but something more has to be coming back than just the pick.

      The othe possibility is buffalo does trade Vanek to nashville…but they trade him to teM X for 2 players and a 1st…they ask Nashville/Tampa Bay what player they would want and then move that player or players to them, with buffalo retaining the pick and player to move up.

      There preference is to keep Vanek.

      Their lines are looking line in 14-15 as


      Miller, Vanek, stafford not part of the team….with their trades would be added players…this roster I’d expect to include their top pick this year.

      Right now they have as picks:

      2013: 1st(8). Minn 1st (16), 2nd (38) , stL 2nd(low 50s)
      2014: 1st, 2nd, LA 2nd, MIN 2nd
      2015: 1st, 2nd, LA 2nd

      Miller, Vanek, and stafford deals likely has a 1st or 2nd coming back.

      • DJ, I like the assessment – seems like Gerbe is also an odd man out – looking at your lines, I see a weakness in that we need another “vet” for leadership and mentoring. Since the Sabres have no chance trading for Briere or signing him if he gets bought out, maybe going after a UFA like Iginla, Clowe, Morrow or Dupuis makes more sense.

        • Why the change of heart on the Briere to Buffalo? I think some of these buy out candidates are going to have hard time finding jobs.

          • I don’t have a change of heart on a Briere to Buffalo scenario – but some have told me that the Sabres don’t stand a chance of Briere waiving his NMC to come to Buffalo. To me, I agree with you – I think some buy out candidates are going to have a hard time finding job and I believe Darcy is looking to pick one or two up – the Sabres have the assets and draft picks – so who’s to say.

  4. I don’t believe Minny will have the cap space to afford Vanek. The amount of discount Vanek would have to give is probably more than he would want to- and he likes money.