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Wavering Regehr exploring his options; Chicago sends Campbell to Florida

Robyn Regehr thinks Buffalo sounds like a great place. That doesn't mean he's ready to play in the city.

The Calgary defenseman declined to waive his no-movement clause Friday, squashing a proposed trade that would have sent him to Buffalo. Moments after the announcement, a source said Regehr began having second thoughts.

The 31-year-old defenseman is interested to hear what other teams have inquired about him, but Calgary was said to have only a couple of offers. All were inferior to the Sabres' package.

"It's a huge, important decision. I just wanted to make sure I explore as many options as possible," Regehr told the Calgary Sun. "Darcy Regier [the Sabres' general manager] has been fantastic. It sounds like Buffalo is great but until we see what's all out there, we can't make a real good informed decision that we're comfortable with."

The Flames concurred, with General Manager Jay Feaster telling The News the trade is not draft driven or draft dependent.

"We'll certainly continue to talk," Feaster said. "I think it's one of those things where it's a shock when the player is asked. It's a case where he was hoping there were things he could consider as opposed to my going to him and saying, 'This is the deal I would have accepted.'

"Quite frankly, this is the best deal from our perspective. I think it just takes a little bit of time to think about those issues."

The Sabres will continue to push hard for the 6-foot-3, 226-pound stay-at-home defenseman. He would fill one of their biggest needs -- he is physical and dependable, and he spent three seasons alongside Buffalo blue-liner Jordan Leopold -- and they will wait to see if he changes his mind.

"It is something that still could happen," Regier said at the NHL entry draft in Xcel Energy Center. "We'll just have to see. It's a situation, to the extent it needs to be resolved, needs to be resolved between Calgary and the player.

"We have some time. We can be somewhat patient with the situation."

Regehr has spent his 11-year career with the Flames and has two seasons remaining on a contract that has an annual salary cap hit of $4.02 million. Regier has had several chats with him promoting Buffalo and the Sabres.

"Our experience is the resistance we meet from the outside looking at Buffalo, it is there, it's something we're focused on changing," Regier said. "The more important thing is the reality. The reality is that players love playing in Buffalo, and they stay in Buffalo. That's really what is most important."

With only a few trades during the night, the Sabres kept their first-round pick and drafted Finnish right winger Joel Armia. The fourth-ranked European skater is the first non-North American picked by Buffalo since it selected defenseman Dennis Persson and goaltender Jhonas Enroth in 2006.

The Sabres held the No. 16 spot on the giant draft board in the arena, which was adorned with the letters "EJ" in the top right corner to honor late Buffalo native EJ McGuire, the former head of NHL Central Scouting who died of cancer in April.

McGuire's wife, Terry, and their young daughters, Jacqueline and Erin, received a standing ovation from the crowd and team employees upon being introduced prior to the draft. The trio announced the Edmonton Oilers would make the first selection.

"EJ was a colleague, a friend and a mentor," said Colin Campbell, the senior vice president and director of hockey operations who introduced a video chronicling McGuire's life as a player, coach and scout.

Shortly after the tribute, the Oilers did the expected and drafted Red Deer center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with the first overall puck. The 6-foot, 164-pounder led the Western Hockey League with 75 assists while recording 106 points.

"I can't even describe what I'm feeling right now," Nugent-Hopkins said. "When my name got called, it definitely didn't hit me until I got on stage and shook [General Manager] Steve Tambellini's hand again. I'm just very excited about this opportunity."

The Oilers had the top pick for the second straight year. They selected forward Taylor Hall with the first selection last June.

"Joining the Oilers is great because I can learn so much from all the young guys. They're such a talented young group of guys. It will be great to join that rebuilding stage they're going through right now," Nugent-Hopkins said.

The Oilers added a veteran to their roster, too. They acquired Ryan Smyth from Los Angeles in exchange for forward Gilbert Brule and a fourth-round pick. Smyth, 35, spent his first 11 seasons with the Oilers and reportedly declined to waive his no-trade clause when Calgary approached the Kings with a deal.

The seventh selection of the night, Barrie center Mark Scheifele, was preceded by the day's worst-kept secret being revealed. The new team in Winnipeg announced it will be known as the Jets, bringing back the nickname that the city's team used from 1972 to 1996.

The evening's loudest moment came when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the night's biggest trade, which involved the hometown Minnesota Wild. They sent defenseman Brent Burns and a 2012 second-round pick to San Jose for forward Devin Setoguchi, 2010 first-round pick Charlie Coyle and the Sharks' first-round pick this year (No. 28).

Former Sabres defenseman Brian Campbell waived his no-trade clause and has been dealt to the Florida Panthers for forward Rostislav Olesz.

Toronto picked up a free agent with Buffalo ties, hiring former Sabres player and coach Rick Dudley to work in the Leafs' front office.

e-mail: jvogl@buffnews.com

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