Buffalo, NY, United States (4E Sports) – Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek clarified that he never asked to be traded amid discussions made by general manager Darcy Regier about trading him.
Nonetheless, Vanek has indicated that he wasn’t ready to discuss an extension of his contract, which runs out following the 2013-14 NHL season.
“I don’t need an extension to feel good or play good,” said Vanek, who signed a seven-year, $50 million deal in 2007.
He noted that the media and the public made premature assumptions about him leaving, specially with the Sabres having traded a number of veterans such as Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold.
There were talks Vanek could be next, considering with the team in a rebuilding mode and the good compensation it could derive from trading him.
Though he said he was unhappy to have to be part of a rebuilding effort, Vanek said he’s feeling better with the return of defenseman Henrik Tallinder, acquired in a trade with the New Jersey Devils last month.
Vanek, who led the Sabres with 20 goals and 41 points last season, also said he is looking forward to working again with coach Ron Rolston, who replaced Lindy Ruff in February.
“I thought he was very structured, very personable, very honest. I think he definitely deserved a chance to have a full year,” said Vanek of Rolston. “Under the circumstances he came in, it wasn’t easy, and then trading away his older guys didn’t probably help his cause. But I thought he handled it well. He prepared us well for every game.”