BUFFALO – Players of Steve Ott’s ilk – tough, versatile leaders with a scoring touch – are precious commodities. That’s why the Sabres captain should be in high demand before the NHL’s March 5 trade deadline. The winger could fetch at least a first-round draft pick.
Ott, an unrestricted free agent following the season, said today he hasn’t had any contact talks. He’s repeatedly said he’d love to stay with the rebuilding Sabres.
But what if the Sabres trade Ott and re-sign him during the summer? It’s happened before in the NHL. St. Louis traded Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta in 2007 before bringing him back as a free agent months later.
Ott said he “would have to look at all possibilities” when asked about the summer scenario today.
“I can tell you myself and my wife and family, we love it here,” Ott said the inside Riverside Ice Rink. “We like it. It would definitely be one of my top spots if ever got to that position in the summertime. I say that because I’ve had nothing but respect since I’ve come here. From the get-go they’ve treated me with such class from ownership all the way down to fans support and everything else. It definitely holds a big piece of my heart.”
In other news, interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan said Ryan Miller could practice Monday. The goalie will at least be back in the country after spending two weeks at the Olympics, Nolan said.
Miller, who played once at the Sochi Games, should start Tuesday. His body has a difficult adjustment. Nolan said he and Zemgus Girgensons haven’t gotten back to normal after representing Latvia.
“He’ll be fresh, but the time zone, it’s tough,” Nolan said about Miller. “I don’t care if you go over on a business trip or if you go over on an athletic event. It’s still nine hours ago. So it’s going to take a little time. Zemgus and myself, we’re still battling with that here. So it’s going to take a little while.”
Girgensons, who switched back to center recently, practiced on the wing today because he wanted to skate after two days off and Nolan didn’t have a slot.