CALGARY - The first attempt this summer to pry him away from the only NHL team he’s every suited up for might have come from Buffalo, but by waiting and weighing his options, defenceman Robyn Regehr may have more of them to consider before the first round of the NHL Entry Draft kicks off Friday night.
It hasn’t exactly been a secret new Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster is looking to move some salary and put his stamp on the team in his first off-season at the helm.
And with a trade offer from the Sabres reportedly on the table Thursday — waiting only for the 31-year-old Regehr’s approval by virtue of waiving his no-movement clause — any other teams that have interest in the rugged rearguard will be sure to make pitches over the next 12 hours.
That bodes well for both Regehr and the Flames, who appear to be closer than ever to parting ways after a couple of years of rumours surrounding the blueliner’s future with the team.
For Regehr, more suitors means more options.
He ultimately wields the power, thanks to the no-movement clause in the contract given to him by former GM Darryl Sutter before the 2008-09 season.
There are two years left on the deal, with an annual salary-cap hit of US$4.02 million.
If the Sabres don’t appeal to Regehr — although one retired teammate said via text the new owner is “awesome” and Buffalo would be a “good place to play” — he may have another deal or two by the time he has to make a decision.
Coming just a game shy of winning the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 2004, you can bet the veteran will be most intrigued by the team he figures has the best shot at giving him another deep playoff run.
For the Flames, the leak may not have come from their side of things, but it doesn’t hurt that news came out they asked Regehr to consider a deal to the Sabres.
Any team previously just kicking tires on the shutdown patrolman, who participated with Team Canada in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, has hours of possible negotiations ahead of them at the draft gathering in the Twin Cities Friday.
Essentially, it’s a win-win situation for both the player and the organization ... if, in fact, Regehr decides to depart for greener pastures after serving 11 seasons with the Flames.
Neither the Flames nor the Sabres wanted to comment on the rumours Thursday, and Regehr would only confirm there is “lots of talk right now” and he is “looking at my options” but there is “nothing concrete” as of yet.
From the Sabres side, media members in Buffalo believe a young defenceman such as Chris Butler, Andrej Sekera, Brayden McNabb or Mark Pysyk could be in the mix, and the name of AHL rookie of the year Luke Adam — a big and talented centre whose biggest weakness is his skating — continues to surface.
But the pieces may not be known until a trade is complete. And that remains up to Regehr.