UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Thomas Vanek knew it was coming. When Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier began trading away veterans like captain Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold last season, he saw the writing on the wall. It was only a matter of time before he would be next.
It’s been a while since Vanek and the Sabres experienced any sort of success. His first two years in the NHL, the team went to the Eastern Conference Final. Since then, it’s been two first round exits mixed in with playoff-free seasons. So as he entered the 2013-14 season, it wasn't a matter of if Vanek would be on the move, but when. His infamous seven-year deal that almost sparked a barn fight expires this coming summer and, given the direction Regier’s taking the team, the 29-year old Austrian wanted to move on.
Vanek said he was shocked when he received the news after 8 p.m. ET Sunday night from Regier. But he wasn’t surprised.