posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 12:01 PM
Forward Thomas Vanek agreed to a three-year deal with the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, passing up his final two years of college eligibility at
Selected fifth overall by Buffalo in the 2003 draft, Vanek's deal is worth close to the NHL rookie maximum of $1.19 million. The Sabres made Vanek the
offer on Thursday, which the player accepted after informing Golden Gophers coach Don Lucia.
"This was definitely the deal I was looking for. I was happy and excited," Vanek said. "I'm going to miss it here (at Minnesota). But at the same
time, I'm really happy to be able to move on with my career."
Vanek plans to travel to Buffalo next week to formally sign the contract. And he's prepared to open his career playing with AHL Rochester, Buffalo's
minor league affiliate, as the NHL season could be disrupted by a labor dispute once the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept.
"Thomas is a special talent," Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said. "He is ready to move forward with his career and compete at the NHL level."
Vanek is a flashy forward who led Minnesota in scoring in each of his first two seasons with a total of 57 goals and 56 assists.