Updates on Thomas Vanek, Cody Hodgston, Nazem Kadri, Michael Del Zotto and more.

Thomas Vanek denies requesting a trade this summer.

Thomas Vanek denies requesting a trade this summer.

WGR550: Paul Hamilton reports Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek denied speculation he asked for a trade this summer. He also said he wasn’t seeking a contract extension but didn’t rule out the possibility. “We’re a young team, we’re rebuilding and those are my words, so I’m keeping my options open”, said Vanek.

BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington believes Sabres RFA forward Cody Hodgson hasn’t earned a long-term, big-money contract like New Jersey’s Adam Henrique, suggesting Tyler Ennis’ two-year, $5.6 million deal as a better comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres are in playoff contention by the trade deadline, I believe they’ll not only retain Vanek (and probably goalie Ryan Miller) but could attempt to re-sign him. If they’re out of contention, Vanek and Miller will hit the trade block. I also agree with Harrington’s take on Hodgson. Like most RFAs coming off an entry-level contract, he has little leverage, and will most likely accept a two-year “bridge contract”.

SPORTSNET.CA (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Nazem Kadri believes it’s up to the Toronto Maple Leafs what they do with his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means Kadri will have to accept a two-year bridge contract, probably at $2.4 million per season. 

ESPN.COM: Victoria Matiash suggests the NY Rangers hiring Alain Vigneault as head coach could be bad news for defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Matiash notes Vigneault is wary of relying too heavily on his defensively weaker young players. Given the Rangers blueline depth, she suggests Del Zotto could see a reduction in his playing time under Vigneault.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If so, that could make Del Zotto the subject of trade speculation near the March trade deadline. It must be remembered, however, Del Zotto is the Rangers best puck-moving defenseman, so cutting his playing time wouldn’t be a wise move.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers need to add more physical wingers.