The Future of Miller and Vanek

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As we near the NHL Entry Draft, Sabres fans alike are wondering what will happen with Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. While the Sabres’ organization may not admit it, the team is going through a rebuilding phase, like it or not.

Miller and Vanek have been in Buffalo from the start, but that could change by this October. The rumors have been swirling, especially about Miller and to which teams he could go to. Now, at the end of June, it seems as if Vanek’s future is just as uncertain as Miller’s.

Let’s look at each player a little more:

Ryan Miller

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The 32-year-old has been with the Sabres for eight full seasons now and has recorded 269 career victories. He has one year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.25M.

With Flyers’ netminder Ilya Bryzgalov being bought out and Roberto Luongo’s future in Vancouver in jeopardy again, what do the Sabres want to do with Miller?

From the Sabres locker room cleanout this past season, it sounded like Miller knew his days in Buffalo were numbered.

“If it’s to be in Buffalo, I’m going to savor my whole career somewhere I like to be. That’s great,” he said. “If it’s somewhere else, I’m going to have to accept it and move on. That’s sports.”

Thomas Vanek

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There’s no question that Vanek does not want to be a part of a long term rebuild, and why should he? The former 1st round (5th overall) pick and 40-goal scorer has been a big part of Buffalo for the past eight years.

Now, after almost a decade with the team, he faces a situation similar to that of Miller’s.

At only 29 years old, Vanek still has plenty of time remaining to put up solid numbers. Is it worth it for the Sabres to keep him with a cap hit of $7.1M, or do they see what they can get in return?

“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. If it looks like it’s a long rebuild, then it probably makes sense for both parties to move on.”

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