Buffalo Sabres GM Tim Murray is expected to be one of hockey’s busiest men in the next five days, but an unanticipated logjam may slightly delay the fire sale in Western New York.
Speaking to the Hockey Central at Noon panel Friday, Murray said he didn’t know if Martin St. Louis or Ryan Kesler—two players who have contracts beyond this season—were being shopped, but until that gets sorted out, the rental market is in limbo. “If players like that are available, it has complicated things,” Murray said.
Buffalo is widely expected to move pending unrestricted free agents Ryan Miller, Matt Moulson and Steve Ott. Defenceman Christian Ehrhoff—who singed a 10-year deal with the Sabres in 2011—has also submitted a list of eight teams he won’t accept a trade to. Murray confirmed that two teams are making serious pushes for Miller, while two or three others have inquired without making offers. None of the inquiring teams were “surprises,” he said, after looking at their goaltending depth charts.
While Murray expects the pot to sweeten as the March 5 trade deadline moves closer, he said he has no problem pulling the trigger now—on any transaction—if he’s convinced the deal is right.
It’s clear Murray, who became Buffalo’s GM in early January, is willing to listen to any and all offers, though it would take an awful lot for him to part with some of the younger Sabres. “It would be something that a fan could make the deal, it would be so good,” he said.
Because former Sabres GM Darcy Regier stockpiled so many draft picks in previous transactions, some have reasoned Murray might be more interested in developed prospects who are close to playing in the league. While that may be the case, Murray sure sounded like a guy who wants to beat a path to the draft podium—especially early on. “Getting there is painful,” he said of the losing that leads to high selections, “but we’re there, so we’ve got to make the best of it.”
He also touched on the future of interim coach Ted Nolan. In all likelihood, no decision will be made until the summer, but Murray had nothing but positive things to say about Nolan. "He’s got a strong chance to continue on in the organization,” Murray said.