"The nature of this game is it's a short-term business but a long-term process," he told the Buffalo News. "The talent will only grow at the rate it will grow, and it takes time."
Regier appears to have even needed to convince owner Terry Pegula that a rebuild was necessary.
After Pegula took over ownership of the Sabres franchise in Feb. 2011, he instructed Regier to spend -- and overspend -- to lure some of the more coveted free agents in the market. Later in July 2011, the Sabres signed defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to a 10-year contract and winger Ville Leino to a six-year deal.
Since then, though, the team has struggled and Regier has made several moves to stockpile top prospects and high draft picks.
A number of management members of other teams have told TFP how impressed they are with some of Regier's latest moves -- acquiring center Cody Hodgson from Vancouver, obtaining a first-round pick for Paul Gaustad, acquiring two second-round picks for Robyn Regehr, dealing Jason Pominville for Matt Hackett, Johan Larsson, a first-round pick and a second-round pick, and Sunday's move that saw Vanek head to the Isles for Matt Moulson, a first-round pick and a second-round pick.
"You have to have high-quality players, and you have to have a number of them," Regier said. "Free agency wasn't going to afford us that opportunity, so you have to look back at the draft and realize that most of your ability to add top players to your team is going to come through that process of the draft. The nature of it is it's slow, and it can be painful."
Regier has heard the cries for his job, but until ownership decides to make a change, he'll continue his efforts to improve the team for the long-term.
"Those are the things underneath the difficult times that you point to, to maintain a level of hope," he said. "You hope that everyone can see that and kind of grab on to that, and it helps to get through the tough times."