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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
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Darcy Regier updated the status of restricted free agent Drew Stafford on Saturday following the team’s on-ice testing at HSBC Arena.

The Buffalo Sabres GM said that while the two sides have not yet reached a deal, they have made progress and will continue working.

While he is not under contract, the good news for Stafford is that he was allowed to participate today as veterans reported for training camp.

“I think there are a couple of important factors when you look at situations like this,” Regier said of his decision to allow Stafford to skate. “Probably the most important thing is that you really want to keep pressure on the process. There is a lot of pain if you don’t have the player, and there’s a lot of pain if the player isn’t here. I think that has a way of putting pressure on the process and getting deals done.

9/12- Darcy Regier
9/12- Drew Stafford

“We made enough progress yesterday to decide collectively that it would be good for him to be here and we’ll keep working at it today.”

Regier would not give a timetable as to when he thought an agreement would be reached, and did not say whether Stafford would be allowed to practice in the scrimmage Sunday.

“We’ll work on it today and we’ll see,” he said.

Stafford finished 2008-09 with career highs in goals (20) and assists (25) and games played (79).

The status of the Sabres’ other restricted free agent, Mark Mancari, seems a bit more unclear.

“He’s expressed that he would like another opportunity elsewhere,” Regier said. “The difficulty with that, is that he’s been a valuable member of the organization; he’s contributed in different areas, and we like his progress. As much as he’d like to be in another organization as an asset, it certainly isn’t going to be our policy to just allow players to walk out. I think once you open that door, in fairness it’s tough to close it.

“We’re hopeful that he’ll be in camp at some point and continue his career with us.”

Regier also reported that the Sabres have signed Brad Larsen to an American Hockey League contract.

The 31-year-old winger was under contract with the Anaheim Ducks in 2008-09, but was forced to miss the entire season due to a pair of surgeries (sports hernia, hip)

Larson has played 294 career NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche and Atlanta Thrashers, registering 48 points (19+29) and 134 PIM.

The remaining player Regier discussed was the Sabres' 2008 first-round draft pick (26th overall) Tyler Ennis.

Tyler Ennis we are working on as well,” Regier said. “He is coming out of juniors so it’s an entry level contract. He actually is eligible to go back to juniors so we treat it a little differently.”

Ennis registered 85 points (43+42) in 61 games with the Medicine Hat Tigers last season.

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