Silver Nuggets: Opting out of a rebuild

Sometimes veteran players aren't interested in being a part of their team's rebuild, and that's fair. But examples in recent history demonstrate that there's a right way of opting out and a very, very wrong way.

Last weekend, the Buffalo Sabres traded Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders in exchange for Matt Moulson and two draft picks. With the Sabres openly embarking on a rebuilding phase in the organization, Vanek admitted that he wasn't interested in toiling with futility on a basement-dwelling franchise. It's something he was fully within his rights to express, and even today Sabres fans don't hold it against him--because Vanek did everything the right way.

He accepted his role as a leader on the team in the short term, becoming one of two alternating captains on the team, but didn't make any doubt of his preference to be dealt to a better one. His feelings didn't seem to affect his play nor his approach to the game, and he embraced his place in the Sabres organization in the short-term while hoping for a deal.

Contrast that with the behaviour of Dany Heatley, who wanted "options" beyond those he was given on a rebuilding Ottawa team. Heatley surely saw the writing on the wall and wanted out of dodge, so he demanded a trade in the off-season and then used his no-movement clause to engineer the involvement of a team of his choosing.

There were, obviously, differences in the two situations. Vanek has only one year left on his deal, while Heatley was still locked up five more seasons, which would certainly have impacted the urgency and likelihood of any deal happening. But there is as much in common with these situations as there is differentiating them, and the behaviour of the two players probably tells you a lot about their personalities.

Senators links:

  • The team held a players-only meeting on Monday. [Citizen | Sun]
  • Here is a transcript of that meeting. [Bonk's Mullet]
  • Erik Karlsson is not a god so don't treat him like one. [Sun]
  • Building off that last headline is an early contender for Photoshop of the Year. [6th Sens]
  • Does Ottawa need to shake things up with a trade? [WTYKY]
  • The Binghamton Senators have been bitten by the injury bug. [Press & Sun Bulletin]
  • Good theory by Jeremy Milks on the Senators' small play leading to their struggles. [Black Aces]
  • One big guy playing small is Colin Greening, who was practicing on the fourth line last game and may see himself scratched in short order. [Citizen]

League links:

  • Matt Moulson scored twice in his Buffalo Sabres debut. [Die By The Blade]
  • Thomas Vanek will make his New York Islanders debut tonight. [Lighthouse Hockey]
  • Glad to hear that Rick DiPietro is trying to right his career. [Puck Daddy]
  • Is Tomas Hertl the Calder Trophy favourite? For sure. But I'd wager he's going to slow down at some point. [Puck Daddy]

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