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Sabres still attempting to restart contract talks with D Campbell

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. - All-star defenceman Brian Campbell might have broken off contract talks with the Sabres, but the team hasn't stopped talking to the player's agent.

General manager Darcy Regier said Friday he's had regular discussions with agent Larry Kelly in hopes of getting contract talks restarted involving Campbell, the Sabres top defenceman, who's in the final year of his deal.

"I wouldn't call it full-blown negotiations, we're just keeping the lines of communication open to see where it goes," Regier told The Associated Press during the first intermission of Buffalo's home game against Boston. "We've had conversations. We never really stopped."

Regier added he's scheduled to talk to Kelly again next week.

Campbell, last month, announced he had broken off negotiations until the season's over, leading to speculation that the Sabres might be forced to trade him. The NHL trade deadline is Feb. 26.

Regier has previously said he has no plans to trade Campbell, but hasn't entirely ruled out the possibility. If they're unable to re-sign Campbell, the Sabres stand to lose him for nothing in free agency this summer.

Campbell is making US$1.75 million this year, and expected to command a hefty raise this off-season.

Selected to his second consecutive all-star game, Campbell is tied for third on the team with 35 points (four goals, 31 assists) and leads the team in ice time, averaging 25:22 per game. He ranks 10th among NHL defenceman in scoring.

In his eighth year with the Sabres, Campbell is coming off a career season, when he had 48 points (six goals, 42 assists) in 82 games last year.

Campbell's departure would be the latest blow to the core of a Sabres team that had reached the Eastern Conference finals in each of the previous two seasons. Buffalo, last summer, lost co-captains Chris Drury and Daniel Briere to free agency.

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