One way or another, Sabres GM Darcy Regier wants to address the center position on his team.
“The right center ice is a priority,” Regier told reporters today after announcing the re-signing of defenseman Alexander Sulzer. “The real unknown here is what the trade market will hold. Nothing has started. It doesn’t get started until after the playoffs. Teams begin to talk, and then it really builds as you go into the draft.
“It’s tough to know what will be available, but if we can find the right centerman it would help.”
The Sabres already have three centers in Derek Roy, Cody Hodgson and Tyler Ennis; however, Roy was the target of trade speculation for much of the past season, and that speculation hasn’t gone away.
“We expect [Roy] back at this point, and we expect him to have a good season at this point,” said Regier, as per John Vogl of the Buffalo News.
Key phrase: “at this point.” (So key Regier used it twice.)
Roy is tradable – he’s only signed for one more season ($4 million cap hit) before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Buffalo also has two first-round picks (and two seconds) that could be used to help land the “right centerman.”
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.