The Rolston era is upon us.

Darcy Regier speaks to the media Saturday. ©2013, Dan Hickling, Olean Times Herald

Regier says Sabres could trade top assets before deadline

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Bill Hoppe     Olean Times Herald

BUFFALO – Given their 12th-place standing with Wednesday’s trade deadline approaching, the Sabres must listen to “anything and everything” available to them, general manager Darcy Regier said Saturday after trading veteran defenseman Jordan Leopold.

Yes, that means Regier could envision himself dealing franchise cornerstones like goalie Ryan Miller and captain Jason Pominville.

“I am listening. I have talked to all 30 GMs over the last, if I say week, it certainly takes in all of them,” Regier said Saturday prior to the Sabres’ 4-3 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals inside the First Niagara Center. “I’ll continue to try to figure out ways we can be better, not just for the rest of this year but, more importantly, for the future.”

Dealing current core players could create a new group of stars for the future.

“We have to be open to everything, and we have to be open to that as well,” Regier said. “You’re looking to get a group of top players that are going to play together, not on a one-year basis, but, going forward, (a) multi-year basis. And so that’s our focus, and it could involve any players, and I think the players are aware of that.”

Regier was speaking after dishing Leopold to the St. Louis Blues for a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round pick that could turn into a fourth-rounder in June’s NHL Entry Draft.

The 32-year-old Leopold, who had two goals and eight points in 24 games, will be an unrestricted free agent following the season. He signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Sabres in July 2010.

“He’s obviously a good player,” Regier said. “His contract’s up at the end of the year. Where we are as an organization and as a team, it’s an opportunity to get something that’s more focused on the future.”

More on Leopold later.

Could Saturday’s trade be the first of several?

“I don’t know,” Regier said. “We’re going to try to do some things whether it works out. The trade deadline, you can feel at times that you’re going to get a lot done and not get anything and vice versa. You can feel like you’re not making much headway and you end up doing more things. I think it’s still too early.”

Regier has been asked about Miller, who has a limited no-trade clause. Rumors are flying – some from credible sources – the former Vezina Trophy winner could be dealt.

“I get asked about every player, including Ryan, sure,” said Regier, who refused to say if Miller had submitted a list of teams he would accept a trade to.

With the salary cap coming down next season, it could be difficult for the Sabres to keep Miller, Pominville and leading scorer Thomas Vanek, whose contracts all expire after 2013-14.

“It’ll all come down to the numbers,” Regier said. “I think if you look at Anaheim, they obviously signed their big guys (Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry). … There’s only so many of those players you can have on the roster. That’s the way it is, and you need top-quality young players to fill out.”

Regier would consider trading some of the Sabres’ top prospects, too.

“Quite honestly, if there’s a deal that makes sense and it involves one of those younger players, it could possibly happen,” Regier said. “ … I wouldn’t single out anyone. But I think if the focus is in the right position for us organizationally, an area where we still have a need, we’re open.”

The Sabres filled Leopold’s opening by playing impressive rookie Mark Pysyk after one scratch. The 21-year-old should have a spot the rest of the season.

“Mark is going to be a very good NHL player, and this is a test period for him,” Regier said. “He’s handled it very well to this point, and so we’ll kind of ride it out right now.”

It was believed the Sabres would deal Leopold instead of letting him walk for nothing.

The versatile Leopold struggled much of the winter, even sitting as a healthy scratch before an injury sidelined him eight games.

When he was healed, interim Sabres coach Ron Rolston sat him an extra game. Leopold rebounded, though, and Rolston played him more than 20 minutes most contests.

Leopold’s a deadline veteran, having been dished twice – from Colorado to Calgary in 2009 and from Florida to Pittsburgh a year later – late in the season.

“I’m not scared, no,” Leopold told the Times Herald on Friday about possibly being dealt. “I have a job to do day in, day out. Things that I can’t control, I’m not going to stress over.”

Switching teams can take its toll on a family, though.

“I look at it from a different perspective,” Leopold said. “I have three kids and a pregnant wife. I’m pretty settled here in Buffalo. I look at it as a family aspect. Playing the game of hockey is the same wherever you go. You just have to go out there and do your job. As far as my family, I have to look at them first. The noise, they tend to pay more attention to it than I do.

“I think it’s true with all sports. Sometimes it’s harder watching that it is playing. My family definitely gets affected by that.”

He added: “Those are the things people don’t see when you get traded, the family aspect of travel, the moving, long nights, early mornings – that kind of stuff, getting acquainted with your teammates. … I would like to have a future here.”

Rolston praised Leopold on Saturday morning, saying, “He’s really had a pretty solid, complete game right now.”

Notes: Vanek (muscle strain) missed his second straight game. Rookie winger Brian Flynn replaced tough guy John Scott after a one-game absence. “His energy, I think more than anything lately, was a little down,” Rolston said about Flynn. “So just building that back up and being ready to go here for the last push.” … Sabres prospect Brayden McNabb (lower body) is out for the season. The defenseman was recently hurt playing with Rochester. “It’s unfortunate for development,” Regier said.

Related: Leopold was Sabres’ unsung hero much of tenure

Sabres trade Leopold to Blues for draft picks

Struggling Sabres facing possible make-or-break weekend with trade deadline approaching

6 comments
  1. Jack Umlauf says: 04.02.132:42 am

    It looks like its time for the Buffalo GM to go as well. He is killing the team. Buffalo deserves a lot better

  2. joe kidd says: 04.03.135:26 am

    Regier is an accountant with poster in office “no cup while I am in control & that is a promise”, I pray Ted Black & Terry Pegula see through this guy & fire him. Remember Pecs? I was surprised Pegula/Black didn’t fire him 1st day of ownership. There are so many examples of Regier ruining the team, I am totally at a loss to understand why he is not fired. Please, Terry/Ted study history of this man, it will be blatantly clear he is incompetant. Remember his “save” with Rivet & Lalime? Rivet had a knee so torn up, he was likely free & he did ZERO! I will be polite but FIRST step to a Cup is a MUST FIRE REGIER, I beg you!!!

  3. Joe Kidd says: 04.03.135:43 am

    Darcy Regier MUST be fired, he is an accountant with sign in office, “Not on my life will Cup be in Buffalo while I am in charge” There are SO many examples of his destruction of the team, Peca issue & sat out entire season over accounting. Briere & Drury not offered a contract to even turn down? Drury said to Buffalo news he would of stayed if could sign something. He was then forced to up Vanek’s salary to 8 Million ridiculous # years as GM’s came after him, some didn’t even want him I heard. Vanek was so shook, he couldn’t play for 2 years. Rivet & Lalime brought in to fake fans out? Rivet’s knee was so torn up, his career was over and Montreal probably gave the accountant him free & he did NOTHING. Did Lalime even play? Ted Black/Terry Pegula, if you want a Cup in Buffalo, he MUST be fired years ago. I beg you to fire him. PLEASE don’t let him fake you out. Study his transactions, if you do this, you will see quick and clear he is totally destructive presence and MUST GO!!!! If he stays? Buffalo will get worse, not better.

  4. Joe Kidd says: 04.03.135:51 am

    Ted Black/Terry Pegula? Why did U not fire Regier 1st day ownership, he is an accountant & totally 200% incompetent GM. It is like being run over by truck obvious he MUST be fired. Peca is one of 100 examples.

  5. Joe Kidd says: 04.03.133:50 pm

    Terry Pegula/Ted Black? You MUST fire Darcy Regier. I do not know how to explain politely. He has ruined the Sabres at every turn, EVERY ONE.
    Peca? Look into it, that alone is enough to fire him. Briere/Drury, he offered no contract & Drury said he would stayed if offered something so he is an accountant & a bad one as he turned around and moved Vanek salary from roughly $250,000 to 8 million year for “X” years? Vanek could not play for 2 seasons because he was so shook up/didn’t ask for any salary increase/Regier just DID it. He brought down Rivet and Lalime to quiet the fans, he likely was GIVEN Rivet as his knee was finished and his career was over, it was like Regier bought a “dead horse”. He is master of deception, he speaks of money in article above? Why, Pegula gave him his marching orders of Multi Billionaire, $$$ no longer a consideration. He is not doing what his boss has told him, that is insubordination, PLEASE PLEASE FIRE HIM!!!!!

  6. Joe Kidd says: 04.03.134:06 pm

    OK, something is weird, 3 posts above did NOT POST as I was NOT a MEMBER, now, I joined as wife posted but had a CAPTCHA and a review prior to post, her post + others are not shown so I assume mine are being dumped so no one sees them. My wife read about 5 posts up already I do not see here so I am being censored and to post 3 of my failed attempts along with one post join, seems unfair, especially if I cannot delete them so please do not blame me for the repetitive posts as they all failed until I joined. They should allow you to delete them……..I will take chance to say 82% #2 Draft picks never ever even play in the NHL so “way to go Regier/give away more players accountant”

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