AMID RUMORS, VANEK LOOKS AHEAD
The subject of trade rumors and speculation since April, Thomas Vanek says he hasn’t been fazed by all the chatter. Speaking today with ABC affiliate KTSP in Minneapolis, the veteran winger said he expects to be a member of the Buffalo Sabres when camp opens in September.
“As of right now, yeah. I haven’t heard anything differently. I’m preparing myself like I’m going back to Buffalo, so that’s what I’m doing.
“I’m not flattered by (trade speculation) by any means. I’ve enjoyed my time in Buffalo and I’m looking forward to going back. In this business you can’t look into that stuff, read the internet or look at the papers too much. If something happens, I’m sure my agent or the GM in Buffalo will call me and tell me where I’m going.”
The 29-year-old Vanek is entering the final season of a seven-year contract that will pay him $6.4 million (with a cap hit of $7.14 million) in 2013-14. Despite playing in just 38 of Buffalo’s 48-game lockout-shortened schedule in 2013, Vanek’s 20 goals marked his eighth consecutive season of 20 or more goals.
With the trades of Jason Pominville, Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr at the deadline, coupled with GM Darcy Regier’s comments that the Sabres were going to have a younger core group moving forward, many assumed that Vanek would be the next domino to fall. But as training camp approaches, Vanek knows that may not be the case.
“We’re rebuilding, and I’m hoping we have the right pieces to accomplish something. I’m not saying I’m old. At 29, I’ve still got many years left,” Vanek explained. “But at the same time, you like to be on a team where you feel like going into camp you’re contending. You’re not guaranteed to win a Cup, but right now in Buffalo I think we’re rebuilding which is not the best case scenario for me. But at the same time, there’s a lot of good young players and hopefully we pick the right ones.”