By John Vogl
NEWARK, N.J. -- Darcy Regier expects the NHL draft to feature a bunch of trades. He still expects Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek to not be part of the action.
The Sabres' general manager continues to believe the goaltender and leading scorer will remain in Buffalo through the weekend.
"Right now, I do, yeah, sure," Regier said this evening in Prudential Center after taking two defensemen in the first round.
The marketplace for Vanek and Miller could open up in the next week or two, Regier said.
"The draft is at the forefront," he said. "I think you’ll see free agency next, including the buyouts, and then I think teams will re-evaluate their positions, situations from there. Whether that changes our situation in respect to Ryan and Thomas, I don’t know. I really don’t know."
There was one huge trade so far, with Vancouver sending goaltender Cory Schneider to New Jersey for the ninth pick in the draft.
"I think that this is an unusual time because of the new CBA, the cap dropping and what I would consider an overabundance of players that teams have signed and would like to move," Regier said. "Maybe the marketplace isn’t there right now. Teams may not want what they’re offering, and you saw today sometimes you’ve got to go a little bigger."
The Sabres stuck with picks eight and 16 in the first round, though Regier tried to pry No. 5 from Carolina.
"It was fairly close," he said. "In the end, the decision was to go this direction."
Buffalo took 6-foot-4 Finnish blue-liner Rasmus Ristolainen at No. 8 and 6-5, 225-pound Russian Nikita Zadorov in the middle of the round.
"We want to become bigger," he said. "We want to become more physical. The game’s moving that way right now, and hopefully it will remain fairly consistent as these guys start their NHL careers.
"In Ristolainen’s case, the fact that he’s played in a men’s league, Finnish elite league, two years in a row probably positions him a little better to step in than Zadorov. It might be a stretch to think that he can play next year."