|Darcy Regier (Photo: Bill Wippert) |
Buffalo Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier addressed the media Monday, discussing the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in Montreal, the free-agency landscape and the team’s offseason needs.
Although the beginning of the NHL’s free-agency period is approaching, Regier hasn’t given up on signing defenseman Jaroslav Spacek.
Regier reported Monday that he has talked with Spacek’s agent over the course of the summer and recently made the 35-year-old veteran an offer.
“Whether that’s going to work, you never know,” Regier said. ”I think when you get to this time, the likelihood is the player will probably go to [the free agency market on] July 1, but we will continue to work on it and hopefully we can get something done.”
Spacek finished the 2008-09 season with 45 points (8+37) through 80 games, tops among Sabres blueliners.
Regier also clarified the confusion surrounding the Sabres’ 2005 first-round pick, Marek Zagrapan.
The 22-year-old forward signed a two-year deal this summer to play for the Severstal Cherepovets in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League. It was first reported that the Sabres were not able to get a qualifying offer to Zagrapan by the June 15 deadline, but Regier says that is not the case.
“We reserved our rights,” he said. “He will just continue his development in Russia for now but we retained his rights in the National Hockey League.”
Zagrapan spent the last three seasons playing for Buffalo’s American Hockey League affiliates, combining for 127 points (56+71) through 227 games. In the 2008-09 campaign he registered 49 points (21+28) in 80 games for the Portland Pirates.
“I would have preferred that he stayed over here and been a part of our organization but I understand that he felt he needed a bit of a change,” Regier said. “Other players have done it and hopefully it works out for him and us as well.”
The Sabres will retain Zagrapan’s rights in the NHL until the forward is 27 years old, at which point he would be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.
With the 2009 NHL Entry Draft approaching, the Sabres GM discussed last year’s picks - including their first-round pick, defenseman Tyler Myers
The 6-foot-7, 19-year-old blueliner impressed many in the 2008-09 season, scoring a career-high 42 points (9+33) in 58 games for the WHL Kelowna Rockets, along with a +31 and 105 PIMs.
He also received praise playing for Team Canada in the World Junior Championships - winning the gold medal in Ottawa.
“I think what’s happened now is that we are going to have to give him a look,” Regier said. “He’s a big man that’s starting to put on weight now and his game has really taken off, really matured. It’s something that we have to approach carefully, we have to make sure that if he’s here that he can help both the team and himself.”
It was confirmed that Dan Paille underwent a minor procedure this offseason to correct a knee injury.
Regier said the operation was 'small’ and "during the season it would have put him out for a couple of weeks, but he’ll be fine."
Paille joins netminder Patrick Lalime in that category. The goaltender underwent a pair of hip surgeries this summer after suffering an injury in early April. Regier expects Lalime to rejoin the team in time for training camp.