One of the biggest decisions facing Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier this off season is what to do with Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. One former NHL GM tells WGR if it were up to him, both players would have their contracts extended.
Craig Button, former Calgary Flames GM and current NHL Network analyst believes the Sabres should build around the pair rather than trade them as part of a rebuilding plan.
“You have to look at every option for them to remain as Sabres” Button said. “I think they’re too good a players. You can let them go but who’s going to replace them? You go back and look at how the team looked different after Chris Drury and Danny Briere left and I think Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller are a significant cut above those two players.”
Button said if Regier is planning to trade one or both players, it must be done in the off season because the return would be “significantly reduced” if he waits until next season’s trade deadline.
Having seen the departures of defensemen Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr as well as the struggles of Tyler Myers, Button said the Sabres need to concentrate on fixing the blue line.
“I think that’s where the Sabres have to be patient and focused” Button told WGR. “Its hard to win in this league without really good defensemen and there’s some good, solid, young ones in the Sabres system.”
Button added “Its hard to work a whole bunch of young defensemen into the league at the same time. You can work one, two max, in my opinion so you have to make sure you have some veterans back there to help them and steady them.
You can listen to the entire conversation with Craig Button and hear what he thinks the Sabres could net if they opt to trade Vanek. You can also hear his opinion of Mikhail Grigorenko and who the Sabres should target in the June draft: