By John Vogl
Thomas Vanek knew big changes were coming once Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier said he was listening to offers on all his players.
"It hasn’t happened in the past. I'm sure there were talks but never publicly," Buffalo's leading scorer said today after taking Jason Pominville to the airport to join his new team, Minnesota. "Now with Jason gone, that obviously sends a message that change is happening."
"You just regroup and figure out what the plan is moving forward, if you're part of it or not," Miller said after practice in First Niagara Center. "That’s something you guys have to talk to Darcy about. It’s something I haven’t had a chance to talk to him about and certainly something I can’t speculate on because I’ve never known what Darcy’s going to do.
"I have to talk to Darcy about it. This is obviously something that hasn’t been planned out.
"We’ll just see where everything falls, talk to Darcy about what his plan is and how I’m going to fit into it or what’s going on because these aren’t conversations we’ve had time to have. Probably given that the trade deadline has come and gone now, I don’t know if we’ll have a chance to talk about it till after the season."
Vanek said earlier this week he wouldn't want to be part of a long-term rebuilding process. He reiterated that's probably the case.
"First of all, it’s not even up to me," Vanek said. "I haven’t talked to them about anything. It’s hard to say yes or no because no one has let me know what direction this is heading. Again, we’ll finish the year out and I’m sure at least I would expect them to let me know what the future is with myself."
The last members of a core that hasn't won a playoff series say there were times they weren't far away and could have succeeded with additional help.
"Add one or two pieces, I think we could have been stronger," Vanek said. "He’s the general manager and he makes moves and decisions, and you’ve got to live with it."
Said Miller: "We’ve had some good runs here where we had the right kind of feeling, we had the right kind of team. Maybe we were close, maybe we were a piece or two away. We’ve had ups and downs with this core. Certainly, the core group of guys have pushed. Early on when we were kind of identified, we made good pushes. It just wasn’t enough."
Though Regier and the organization have begun looking to the future, 11 games remain in this season. The Sabres host Ottawa on Friday.
They will not have a captain. Interim coach Ron Rolston announced he will not put Pominville's "C" on another player. Rolston has promoted Steve Ott to alternate captain, giving the team three "A's" in Ott, Vanek and Drew Stafford.
taggedDarcy Regier | Ryan Miller | Thomas Vanek