BUFFALO – For now at least, starting goalie Ryan Miller and slick winger Thomas Vanek, two veteran stars entering the final seasons of their contracts, are still members of the Sabres.
Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said this morning he has spoken to the players’ agents and both sides plan to continue chatting.
“As I’ve stated before, it’s incumbent upon me to have a sense of what the marketplace is or re-sign them versus allowing them to become unrestricted and just have very good assets walk out the door,” Regier said inside the First Niagara Center.
But what about the goalie market? Some teams have recently acquired or re-signed a netminder. Meanwhile, Rick DiPietro and Tim Thomas, two veterans, are hitting the market.
“The fact that the goalie market has stabilized a little bit – a number of teams have signed their goalies – will change things,” Regier said. “How it goes, I’m not sure.”
Regier said the Sabres are “open to” starting contract negotiations with Miller and Vanek or surveying the market. Free agency begins Friday.
“From a developed marketplace, it’s very limited, and I think now, you can start signing guys as of July 5, guys that are going into the last years of their deal,” Regier said. “You’ll see that market formulate, and that will have an effect on what we do and what our players do as well.”
In other news, Regier said the Sabres plan to contact Daniel Briere, the team’s popular former co-captain. Philadelphia recently bought out the star center.
Also, the Sabres plan to re-sign respected forward Matt Ellis.
“We expect him to be the captain in Rochester if he’s not playing with us,” Regier said. “The focus is going to have a very strong veteran leadership component there in order to guide and assist the younger players in their development.”
Meanwhile, Regier said forward Cody McCormick, who was sent to Rochester last season, will either be with the Sabres next season or somewhere else in the NHL. He doesn’t think McCormick will clear waivers.
Defenseman Alexander Sulzer will become unrestricted but Regier didn’t rule out re-signing him.
Regier also said Sabres coach Ron Rolston hopes to have an assistant coach hired in the next week. Chadd Cassidy, who took over for Rolston on an interim basis in Rochester, will return to the Americans in some form.
Update: According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, former Colorado coach Joe Sacco will be named an assistant coach. Sacco, a veteran of 738 NHL games, coached the Avalanche for four seasons before getting fired after a 16-25-7 finish in 2012-13.