Amherst, NY (WGR 550) -- It's always a tricky time of year for players around the National Hockey League. If they're a member of a team that looks destined to miss the playoffs, it's likely their employers could be 'sellers' at the trade deadline. The way the season has gone for the Buffalo Sabres, the overwhelming sentiments are the front office could move some pieces to help their future by the time business closes on April 3.
Every player approaches the situation differently, at least in the way they publicly speak about it. Take forward Drew Stafford, for instance. Mired in a slump throughout the season, his name has been thrown around as a player that could be in line for a fresh start elsewhere.
Stafford is staunchly sticking with how he's approaching the deadline.
"No, I am 100-percent focused on getting back to where I need to be as a player to help this team win games," he said. "Anything else doesn't matter to me right now."
Then, there's defenseman Robyn Regehr. He's a player that has an expiring contract that a team may find attractive for a late-season and post-season rental to try to make a run for the Stanley Cup. Regehr gives in a little more than his teammate Stafford did.
"Well you're always thinking and preparing yourself for different situations. But right now what I'm really trying to think about is my game and our team," he said. "That's the main thing right now. But, to say I didn't think about it a little bit, I'd be lying to you. That's just the reality of the situation, but it's not something I'm focused on."
On the opposite end from Stafford, is captain Jason Pominville. For the first time in his many seasons with the Sabres, his name has been one of the leading stories revolving around trade rumors. Speaking about the trade deadline in generalities, the captain kept steady with the basic mindset a team would like to have while going through all of the rumors.
"You hear your name, I think you hear your name from people that want more followers on Twitter," Pominville remarked. "I mean, you hear your name here and there, but where are those things really coming from? So I think we've just got to worry about playing. There's going to be rumors every year. It's the way it is, it's the nature of the sport. Is it what it is. We've just got to worry about what we've got to do."
As a follow up, Pominville was asked how all the extended rumors, about him in particular, has affected him leading up to April 3. The normally diplomatic captain became a bit edgier in his response.
"It doesn't affect me at all. I just answered the question," he replied. "It makes no sense to me right now. Again, I have a contract that has a clause in it and I haven't been asked anything, so I'm not worried about it. I've just got to go out there and play, and if something happens, then I'll worry about it. But right now, it's just trying to win games."
The important part of that answer is that Pominville has not been asked by the Sabres' management to compile his list of eight teams that he would not go to. Still, with under five days to go, there is time for those conversations to happen.
In Regehr's case, he has a no movement clause on his contract, but said he has spoken with General Manager Darcy Regier.
"I've talked with him, just more mainly about the team and where we're at and what kind of things we need to do to improve," he said. "That was the main part of the conversation."
Not only do the players have to go through it, but so do the members of the coaching staff. Interim head coach Ron Rolston is going through many firsts in his first time behind the bench in the NHL, and he's getting his first taste of the lead-up to deadline day.
"It's there, and the guys know it's there," the coach said. "They've been through it, these guys have been through a lot of trade deadlines, so they understand what the consequences are. Their job, just as professionals, is just to come to the rink every day and do their best where they're at. Our guys have really had a good focus, so we'll see. We'll see what happens."
With only days to go before the trade deadline, the 'We'll see what happens' approach is running rampant throughout both the Sabres' locker room and western New York. Only time will tell who stays, and who goes when April 3 is over.