BUFFALO, N.Y. -- First-round draft pick Thomas Vanek is prepared to return to Minnesota for his junior year if he doesn't get an offer from the Buffalo Sabres.
Vanek told The Associated Press on Monday that the Sabres have contacted his family advisers, but the team has yet to speak to him and make an offer.
"They've been talking a little bit, but I don't think it's anything major," said Vanek. "As of right now, I'm pretty set coming back to Minnesota unless the Sabres come to me and give me an offer. But that's not in my hands, and I can't worry about that."
Last week, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said he's interested in signing Vanek, and believes the forward is ready to turn pro and forgo the final two years of his college eligibility.
Vanek is back at Minnesota, preparing to take summer courses after playing for his native Austria at the World Hockey Championships earlier this month. He was selected fifth overall in the 2003 draft.
Vanek, who led Minnesota in scoring in each of his first two seasons, said he's ready to turn pro, but that decision rests with the Sabres.
"If the contract does come and it's good, I'm always ready for a new challenge," said Vanek, who led Minnesota in scoring in each of his first two seasons.
Vanek had 31 goals and 31 assists, tops among all freshman, when he helped the Golden Gophers win a national championship in 2002-03. Vanek's numbers dropped in his sophomore season, when he had 26 goals and 25 assists.
Vanek had two goals and five assists in six games at the world championships.
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