With the ink barely dry on Patrick Kaleta’s new three-year deal, Darcy Regier continues to work on getting the team’s last remaining restricted free agent under contract.
Coming off an injury-plagued season that saw him score 15 goals and 19 assists in 48 games, the 22-year-old Ennis remains unsigned with training camp set to begin in late September. Regier says that talks have been ongoing, and is confident a deal will get done soon.
“We spoke with his agent yesterday and I think that will continue today,” Regier told the media today at First Niagara Center. “The positive is that it’s moving in the right direction.”
Regier also confirmed today that he has not met with unrestricted free agent Shane Doan, and nothing is scheduled for now. But with multiple media outlets reporting that Doan is in Vancouver today meeting with Canucks management, Regier said the Sabres would definitely have an interest in talking to with the 35-year-old Doan if he continues to make his North American tour of possible landing spots.
“What I would say about Shane’s situation is that I admire the level of loyalty he’s provided to Phoenix. He’s spent his whole career with that organization, and I think that’s meaningful and I admire that. But in the event he’s not going to stay there, we certainly do have an interest.”
The Sabres lost 334 man games to injury last season – the equivalent of losing four regulars from the lineup each night. Despite playing a career-high 63 games, Kaleta missed 15 games as a result of three different injuries. Regier would like to avoid the injury bug again this season, and is hopeful that some subtle adjustments to the protective equipment will benefit an aggressive player like Kaleta.
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“I’m always hard on manufacturers because they build their equipment for the players, and the players are largely about comfort and lightness – but comfort and lightness doesn’t always work on the protection side,” explained Regier. “We’ve become a lot more involved in the equipment the players are wearing, along with the player. We go back to the manufacturers and let them know we’re not prepared to use their equipment because it doesn’t provide adequate protection. Because when Pat gets hurt, we don’t have as good a replacement as he is as a player.”