Report: Sabres were prepared to make Vanek highest-paid player in NHL


The Buffalo Sabres thought so much of winger Thomas Vanek that they were “willing to make him the highest-paid player in the NHL,” according to a report from The Buffalo News.

The News cites an anonymous source with that tidbit, then refers to Vanek’s comments today that suggest the 29-year-old, traded yesterday to the New York Islanders, wanted no part of staying in Buffalo while the Sabres were rebuilding.

“I enjoyed my time there, but I didn’t want to be a part of that,” Vanek told reporters. “We traded pretty much every veteran. The message was clear that they’re going for draft picks. I think our last game we played four teenagers. Good, young players, but young players take time.”

The NHL’s highest-paid player, based on cap hit, is Washington’s Alex Ovechkin ($9,538,462).

It seems hard to fathom the Sabres were prepared to give Vanek as much as Ovechkin is getting now. Then again, they’ve given players big money before, and the cap is expected to rise in the coming years. They certainly could have been thinking in the range that, say, winger Corey Perry (eight years, $8.625 million cap hit) got in Anaheim.

At any rate, it’s a moot point now. Vanek is with the Islanders today and skating with John Tavares.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?