NHL Trade Rumours: Vanek questions future

Nothing spells trade rumour like the combustive mixture of a bad team and a pending veteran free agent.

So with the Buffalo Sabres core of proven talent — goaltender Ryan Miller ($6.25 million cap hit), forwards Jason Pominville ($5.3 M) and Thomas Vanek ($7.14 M) — all headed for contract years in 2013-14, is it too soon to decide whether to trade for assets or re-sign them long-term?

The mood in Buffalo is far from sunny, causing Buffalo News writer Bucky Gleason to wonder if a losing team with the eighth-highest payroll won’t be looking to shed some contracts.
“We haven’t really found our identity a few times. We had our identity in 2010. We played defence. We had a core of good guys on D. Whether we could keep those guys or not, or whether it worked out, it went in another direction for us again,”

Miller told the paper. “Do we become a younger team or do we become a team that’s going to build and try to get this core group of guys a chance to move forward?… Or are we not the core anymore? Who knows?”