BUFFALO (LGS) — Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier held a brief press conference at HSBC Arena Wednesday morning to discuss the ongoing free agency period.
"I've been on the phone this morning and will continue to work," said Regier. "We're really looking for a defenseman and I remain hopeful (that we'll find one)."
According to Regier, the Sabres would like to find a sound defenseman who fits in with the current depth at the blueline. Buffalo would also like a defenseman with some offensive upside.
If the Sabres don't get what they want through free agency, the trade market remains an option but Regier believes free agency still might be the best way to go.
"There are still unrestricted players out there," said Regier. "Yesterday it seemed I was making all the calls, today we're getting some calls."
Buffalo's general manager believes various free agent players would like to come to Buffalo if a fair deal can be reached.
"Ultimately it's going to come down to player value."
One player that fans were hoping for was East Amherst native Brooks Orpik. Regier said the Sabres are interested in Orpik but he believes the hometown product will receive more than the Sabres are willing to offer; especially after the excessive deals blueliners were getting yesterday.
"Team's did what they felt they needed to do," Regier said. "But I suspect that there will be a number of these players that will be on the market long before their contracts are up."
That's not a position the Sabres want to get themselves into, especially since they'll have to deal with signing players like Ryan Miller and Jason Pominville to long-term deals. Both are scheduled to become free agents next summer.
"It's a combination of the short-term picture – the immediate needs – and the long-term, and we want to make sure we address both sides of that."
Regier also discussed yesterday's signing of veteran netminder Patrick Lalime to a two-year, $2.0 million contract.
"I like the fact that he played a lot of games last year, that he has a winning record and that he has experience as a number one," stated Regier. "He will be able to provide strong support for Ryan Miller."
As for Miller and Pominville, there were no new updates on the contract front but Regier expects talks to continue with both players' agents in the coming days and weeks.
The Sabres' GM also stated the organization is comfortable with their status at the center position, but it all hinges on the health of Tim Connolly, who Regier said is doing well after having season-ending surgery back in March to have bone chips removed from his hip.