BUFFALO, N.Y.-A number of Sabres face uncertain futures as the team spends the second straight season watching the playoffs instead of being in them. The Sabres cleaned out their lockers today and headed home with many wondering what the future holds for long time stars Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek among others.
The players take a realistic approach to the process as they are well aware that hockey is a business. Much has already been made about Miller's future with the Sabres. He is prepared for whatever decision is made about his future. "Around this stage of a contract, you have to be realistic. In the last year of your deal, if you're not part of the plan, you become an asset that's tradable. So I'm just trying to stay open to coming back and trying to stay excited about playing hockey games in the NHL if it's not going to work out."
Miller played career game number 500 last night all in a Sabres uniform. The team has missed the playoffs for two straight seasons. "I'm convinced more and more as I play longer and longer it's more about the attitude and the kind of team you build. It's not always about a bunch of skill pieces. You have to define the way you play. And we can find a way to play here, if we can define it and do it every night, we'll have just as good a chance as anybody."
Vanek also has a realistic attitude. "Let's be honest. I'm not stupid. I know I have a year left and they can probably deal me for prospects, young guys, whatever else is out there. Yeah, I've thought about it. If it looks like it's a long rebuild, then it probably makes sense for both parties to move on. I don't know what the plan is," Vanek said. "If they're turning it over to the younger guys, it's a turnover. Or are they going to build around us again? It's all speculation at this point because you guys don't know and I don't know what's going to happen."
Sabres President Ted Black and General Manager Darcy Regier are scheduled to address the media Monday afternoon.