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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Darcy Regier (Photo: Bill Wippert)
General Manager Darcy Regier will remain with the Buffalo Sabres for at least the next three years.

With his current contract expiring at the end of the 2008-09 season, Buffalo Sabres owner Tom Golisano announced today that the team resigned the GM to a two-year extension, keeping him here through the 2010-2011 campaign.

“I’m obviously thrilled to stay here,” Regier said. “I think back to when I was first hired… with all the turmoil back then, Lindy [Ruff] was hired shortly after, I didn’t know we would last one year let alone how many years this currently is. You move along not taking anything for granted.”

Regier, along with Ruff, have together become the longest-tenured GM / Head Coach tandem in the four major professional team sports and have had more success than any other tandem in franchise history.

Joining the organization in 1997, Regier enters his 12th year with the Buffalo Sabres.

“You’re very grateful not just for the longevity but even more importantly, people: The people you have an opportunity to work with, learn from [and] grow with,” Regier said. “I think the best part is ultimately we all want the same thing, which is to win a Stanley Cup Championship. When you look at the players and the commitment on the part of Tom [Golisano], Larry [Quinn] and Dan [DiPofi]… commitment on the part of this community… it’s a terrific feeling.”

In his time as general manager, Regier has compiled an overall record of 397-302-121, ninth best in the NHL since 1997-98.

“It’s probably the best contract we’ve done all year,” Quinn said. “I think Darcy has done a wonderful job not only with the things you see but with the team-building and the commitment we’ve made as an organization to work together to win here.”

In recent years, Regier reorganized the Sabres’ scouting department, paying immediate dividends in the NHL Entry Draft. Of the 30 players who took to the ice for Buffalo in 2007-08, 20 were acquired through the Entry Draft and had spent some time with the team’s AHL affiliate.

Among them were Derek Roy, Jason Pominville and Thomas Vanek, Buffalo’s top three scorers last season. Vanek was selected fifth overall in 2003, while Roy (32nd) and Pominville (55th) were drafted in the 2nd round of the 2001 Draft.

The Sabres were one of just three teams last season whose top three scorers were all 25 years of age or younger. (Washington and Los Angeles were the others.). Roy and Pominville are both signed through the 2013-14 season, while Vanek’s contract runs through 2014-15. In addition, the Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller signed a five-year contract extension this summer that will keep him blue and gold through the 2013-14 season.

Buffalo’s roster also includes several other players who were drafted in the first or second round since Regier’s first draft in 1997, including: Drew Stafford (1st, 2004), Daniel Paille (1st, 2002) and Henrik Tallinder (2nd, 1997). Regier’s staff has also done a solid job in the later rounds, with players like goaltender Miller (5th, 1999) and forward Paul Gaustad (7th, 2000) emerging as team leaders both on and off the ice.

So far this off-season, Regier has continued to solidify the team’s future by signing a number of highly-regarded prospects to contracts. Among them are college standouts Nathan Gerbe (Boston College), Tim Kennedy (Michigan State) and Chris Butler (Denver), along with a trio of 2006 draftees: defenseman Dennis Persson (1st), goaltender Jhonas Enroth (2nd) and forward Felix Schutz (4th).

The hockey department’s success hasn’t been limited to draft day. Several trades and free agent signings have landed Buffalo some of their most valuable contributors.  Forwards Jochen Hecht and Tim Connolly were acquired in trades, in addition to defensemen Craig Rivet and Toni Lydman. Jaroslav Spacek was a highly coveted free agent defenseman who signed a three-year deal with Buffalo in 2006.
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