Sabres GM 'would like to keep' Miller, Vanek

Friday, 06.21.2013 / 10:05 PM
Connor Mellas  - Staff Writer

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Thomas Vanek each has one year left on his contract. At the end of the 2013-14 NHL season, they'll be unrestricted free agents.

The clock is ticking, and their respective futures with Buffalo remain very uncertain.

"Ideally, I would like to keep them here, yes," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said at a press conference Thursday. "But again, we have to look at it in the context of when they become unrestricted and whether or not we have the ability to do deals with them, and then the cost of those deals if we do."

Miller, 32, was chosen by Buffalo with the 138th pick in the 1999 NHL Draft. He played 40 games for the Sabres in 2012-13, going 17-17-5 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. So far, there have been no contract talks with the veteran.

"Nothing in the way of an extension," Mike Liut, Miller's agent, told the Buffalo News.

The Sabres drafted Vanek at No. 5 in the talent-rich 2003 draft. In 2012-13, the 29-year-old led the Sabres in scoring with 20 goals and 21 assists in 38 games. His status is similar to Miller's.

"I have not personally talked to the Sabres but expect to see them at the draft [June 30]," Steve Bartlett, Vanek's agent, told the Buffalo News.

Despite the lack of negotiations, Regier said he believes the possibility of re-signing Miller and Vanek remains on the table.

"We're going to stay, we're going to explore all of the available options. And we have been," Regier said. "I have been. I'll continue to do that. One of those options is that those players will remain here next year, because the market is going to dictate to large part what we're able to do to help the organization. … They're exploring their options as well."

The Sabres have 24-year-old backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth under contract until the 2015-16 season after signing him to an extension this week. After backstopping Sweden to the gold medal at the 2013 World Championship, Enroth is confident and filled with potential.

"I think that given Jhonas' age, his experience, what he's been through, he's in a great position to really advance his career at this point," Regier said.

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