With the calendar turning to April, and the trade deadline on Wednesday, we've officially entered the silly season in the NHL where rumors and speculation run wild, and the Buffalo Sabres are no exception.
After last week's trade of Jordan Leopold to St. Louis, Sabres GM Darcy Regier went on the record to reporters as saying that the team is listening to offers "for anything and everything", confirming the speculation that, unlike in previous years, every player on the roster was available for the right price.
However, over the past few days, a few different sources have said that one name may not be available - Thomas Vanek. The cornerstone of the Sabres offense has become a fan favorite over the past few years, and one of the most reliable scorers the team has had in the past decade. He has one year remaining after this on the seven year, $50 million contract he signed in 2007.
Vanek himself came out yesterday to WGR 550's Paul Hamilton and said that he would like to stay in Buffalo, provided that the rebuilding effort wasn't a long-term one.
"I would definitely like to stay. I like this area, I’m comfortable where I’m at, but I would like to know what the direction is," said Vanek. "If it’s one year that’s OK, but if it’s a two, three year plan again then he would probably look the other direction, but that’s a long ways away."
While Vanek's admission of love for Western New York was little more than a player expressing his opnion, a more substantial report came out today from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
The belief amongst several teams: Every player on the Sabres is available but Vanek. Be surprised if he moves by Wednesday. #Tradetracker— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) April 1, 2013
Vanek seems to be the consensus player that fans would like to keep on the team, along with perhaps Ryan Miller, so to hear reports that both Vanek and the Sabres are thinking the same way adds a little bit of clarity to an otherwise murky trade week.