By John Vogl
It sounds like Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek could remain with the Sabres for a while. General Manager Darcy Regier hopes Cody Hodgson sticks around, too.
Buffalo's veterans gathered for physicals today and will begin skating Thursday, and Regier hopes Hodgson will be on the ice in First Niagara Center. The team has yet to work out a contract with the restricted free agent, who was second on the team in scoring last season.
"The efforts that are being made by both sides would indicate that we want to get something done as quickly as possible. We’re going to make every attempt to get him on the ice tomorrow."
Hodgson earned a base salary of $787,500 last season and turned down the one-year qualifying offer of $826,875. Regier said he's talked with agent Ritch Winter about long- and short-term extensions for the 23-year-old center.
"We certainly believe that Cody is a player that will continue to get better, improve," Regier said. "He has fit in very well organizationally. He’s a very mature young man. He’s a very hard-working, committed individual and athlete. That’s someone we’d like to have around for a long time.
"The nature of negotiations, the longer it goes, both sides certainly can become entrenched. That certainly hasn’t been the case here. We’ve had lots of communication, especially over the last few days. There’s a good effort by everyone involved."
The expiring contracts of Miller and Vanek remain in the spotlight. There have been no talks of extensions. More significantly, there have been no trade talks. Regier says that's the state of the NHL trade window.
"It’s closed right now," the GM said. "Once you get through the unrestricted market, there’s a little bit of a secondary market. Then as you tail off in July, the lines go dead. The league, for whatever reason, really goes quiet.
"As you approach training camp, teams for the most part look at their young players, look at their own group and, like us, are trying to figure out who’s going to play, who’s going to fit, where are they going to fit, what will the needs be. Then the season begins and talks start again. In most cases, not a lot happens until you get closer to the trade deadline, where it ramps up again.
"There’s a business that goes on that most people don’t know about or hear about, and there’s a lot of speculation and rumors out there of things that may or may not have happened. We’re approaching it from the standpoint of Ryan’s here, Thomas is here, they’re both in the last year of their deals like a lot of other players in the National Hockey League, and they’re ready to go to work."
taggedCody Hodgson | Darcy Regier | Ryan Miller | Thomas Vanek