“As of right now,” Thomas Vanek is preparing for another season with the Buffalo Sabres. However, the 29-year-old sniper admits playing on a team that is “rebuilding” may not be the ideal situation at this point in his career.
“We’re rebuilding, and I’m hoping we have the right pieces to accomplish something,” Vanek told KSTP TV in Minneapolis.
“You like to be on a team where you feel like going into camp you’re contending. You can’t guarantee to win a Cup, but right now in Buffalo we’re rebuilding, which is not the best-case scenario for me. But at the same time, there’s a lot of good young players and hopefully we pick the right ones.”
Vanek, along with teammate Ryan Miller, has been the subject of trade speculation after the Sabres missed the playoffs for the second straight season. Both players are in the final years of their contracts, after which they can become unrestricted free agents.
Related: Sabres GM says Vanek/Miller trade talk has gone quiet
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.