Offseason speculation about a change of address doesn't seem to have any effect on Thomas Vanek, whose focus is on getting ready for next season in the only NHL jersey he's ever worn.
Vanek, who is entering the final season of his seven-year contract with the Buffalo Sabres, has been the subject of several trade rumours over the past few weeks. But last season's top scorer expects to remain as a member of the team when training camp begins in September.
"As of right now, yeah - I haven't heard anything differently," he told ABC affiliate KTSP in Minneapolis on Wednesday. "I'm preparing myself like I'm going back to Buffalo, so that's what I'm doing."
Vanek, 29, will earn $6.4 million next season with a team cap hit of $7.14 million. He has scored 20-plus goals in each of his last eight seasons.
"I'm not flattered by (trade speculation) by any means," Vanek continued. "I've enjoyed my time in Buffalo and I'm looking forward to going back. In this business you can't look into that stuff, read the internet or look at the papers too much. If something happens, I'm sure my agent or the GM in Buffalo will call me and tell me where I'm going."
The Sabres struggled in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, finishing last in the Northeast Division and missing the playoffs. In an effort to begin rebuilding, general manager Darcy Regier traded veterans Jason Pominville, Robyn Regehr and Jordan Leopold, prompting speculation that Vanek and even long-time netminder Ryan Miller could be on the block.
"We're rebuilding, and I'm hoping we have the right pieces to accomplish something," Vanek continued. "I'm not saying I'm old. At 29, I've still got many years left. But at the same time, you like to be on a team where you feel like going into camp you're contending. You're not guaranteed to win a Cup, but right now in Buffalo I think we're rebuilding which is not the best case scenario for me. But at the same time, there's a lot of good young players and hopefully we pick the right ones."
Files from KTSP in Minneapolis were used for this report.