BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Buffalo Sabres winger Thomas Vanek returned to Western New York earlier this week as he prepares to begin training camp with the team in a few weeks.
The 29-year-old led the team in scoring in last year's shortened season, and along with goaltender Ryan Miller, was rumored to be a likely candidate to be moved in the off-season. But despite the speculation, Vanek remains a Sabre, and says he is looking forward to getting back to hockey.
"It feels good. It's good to see everyone, see how their summer is going and just getting back started," said Vanek after a workout with several teammates Wednesday morning.
Entering the final year of his contract, Vanek says he is not approaching the season any differently.
"I approach it the same as every other year, to be the best that I can be. Obviously we have a young team and [I] will be in more of a leadership role again and take it from there."
Vanek had previously stated that he didn't want to be part of a rebuild, but says he sees the potential in the young players that will likely fill out the roster.
"It's a big unknown of how we're going to be. Obviously the young guys that we drafted this year and in the past are good skilled players and hard workers and how that will translate into a full season, I don't know."
And while Vanek admits he has not had any contract discussions with the Sabres, he says an extension is something he would be open to, adding, "I'm happy to play out my year and see where it goes.... Again we have a young team out there ... and myself, I want to see where it goes and see how it develops."