Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray met with the media Tuesday night prior to the team's game against the Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center.
The NHL Trade Deadline is set for March 5 at 3 p.m. and Murray discussed what he's looking for in a trade and the interest several pending unrestricted free agents such as Steve Ott and Ryan Miller have garnered. He also touched on interim coach Ted Nolan's possible future with the organization.
Below is a transcript of his media availability.
What can you tell us, Tim, about where you’re at as far as the trade deadline goes and what your thoughts are going into this one?
Very quiet. Quieter than I guess maybe was expecting. I thought that when everybody was back from Sochi that there would be a lot of calls but I guess some guys got back yesterday and maybe they’re still jet-lagged. We’ve got a couple playing tonight so I’ll give it a couple more days I guess.
Are you ready to do something?
Yeah, I mean you do your preparation and we’ve had a good month here of rating our own players, making sure we have them rated properly. So you know the guys that drafted them. Any team that I’ve been on, we like our players more than other teams and I think probably with me coming in, maybe like them not quite as much or not like rated in our number system, so I think we’ve come to good numbers for them. We think we’ve got lots of value here. Now if we can get value for them is the other question.
Are you actively pursuing a trade for Miller?
Actively? No. I’m listening. I mean, we know and you guys know the teams that have interest on certain players and I’ve talked to those GMs before Sochi obviously and I’ve talked to a couple that have interest in different players. So I’ve talked to probably seven or eight GMs and that would entail probably 10 to 12 players so there has been quick talks today.
Are we still on the same page, we’ll talk again later in the week type of thing? Yep, we are. There has been talk but there’s been no specifics.
Is Ryan the most sought-after player that you have and how many people have brought him up?
The most sought after? That’s hard to say. There are teams that certainly have told me they have a need for him. There’s no question. But in saying that, there’s been a lot of teams that have expressed interest in other players. Steve Ott, obviously being one that has generated a large interest. I don’t know how you quantify which guys have expressed the most interest in, which players, but there’s been interest in a lot of players.
When you look at someone like Steve Ott, he’s such a leader and brings so much to the dressing room, it’s a real fine line in getting rid of someone like that when you’re rebuilding a team.
It is. It is. I mean, Steve Ott is the type of player that I’ve looked for for 21 years. In drafting and the type of person and type of player, the way he plays the game, the way he conducts himself, that’s not the type of player I want to trade away. That’s the type of player I want to bring in.
Unfortunately when I got here, he’s at his age and he’s an unrestricted free agent so he has every right to, whether he’s traded or not at the end of the year, to pursue other opportunities or just see how much other team, when they say they want him, how much does that translate into dollars spent or whatever.
But that’s not the type of guy that I in the past have been involved in trying to get rid of. It’s the type of player that we’ve been trying to bring into the teams that I’ve been with. And we’re not a playoff team, so that changes the dynamic obviously.
Tim, in regards to your unrestricted free agents, do you anticipate to wait until after March 5, to wait to see if they’re still on the roster to determine whether to make a bid at re-signing them before opening talks before then?
Back to Ryan, the option of him re-signing before the deadline, is that a realistic option? What are the chances, do you think? And if he’s not re-signed, do you want to deal him?
It’s realistic, but it’s not the route that we’re looking at right now. The route we’re looking at is to get value for him, to put him in a position to succeed. However you want to describe him here in all the years he’s been here as a good soldier or whatever and I think, I’ve said this before, if you look at the teams I’ve been with in the past, we’ve done that.
Players that treat you right and have played well and hard for you over the years, you try to do what’s best for them too as long as it fits into what you’re doing. By trading Ryan to a contender – a good team that maybe is lacking only his position – I think that we’ve certainly not done a disservice to him and we’ve helped the organization in our own right. Our goal right now on both sides is to pursue a proper trade.
So Ryan has no interest in an extension here, then?
No interest? I don’t know if he has no interest. I know what I think his first choice would be and I don’t think signing here is his first choice at his age, where we’re at – we’re the 30th place team. But I wouldn’t say he’s got not interest, no.
What are you looking for most to come back to you? Draft picks? Prospects? Players?
Both. Ideally, in a perfect world, if a team would give me two real good young players that are two years or so into their development, that would be outstanding. But I don’t think teams are going to bend over backwards to make life easier for us so it’s going to be the determination that will be made of what the best deal is offered.
If it’s draft picks, it’s draft picks and then we’ll turn them into new assets and players but ideally, young players that are a little bit along in their development would be great.
Is it a little harder to market Miller being that he has a limited no-trade clause?
No because I think the no-trade, there’s a few teams that are obvious and they’re not going to pursue him anyway as far as where they are in the standings. I think there are enough really good teams – teams that consider themselves contenders that are kicking around the idea of trading for a good goalie. So I think there’s a possibility that with more talks, something concrete could happen.
Has it been fun getting ready for this?
I talked to a GM yesterday that I hadn’t talked to and he said, ‘I bet you’re loving it and hating it every second.’ I said, ‘That pretty well describes it. There’s no hate involved, but it’s like as I’ve said, there’s a thousand moving parts and you’re talking about disrupting some family’s lives.
I mean, I haven’t talked about it, but I know every time I walk through the dressing room, they’ve read about it, they’ve seen on TV – that’s your guys’ jobs – and I take no pleasure in knowing that a guy with two kids and a wife has to pick up and leave if they do. But that’s what we all signed up for and that’s just the nature of it.
Are you close to an extension with Ted?
Close? You guys and your adjectives. I don’t know. We are discussing it and we have discussed it so we’re along that path, yes.
How many playoff teams do you think think that Ryan might be the final piece for them?
You have to be inside to know that. You’ve gotta be inside their room. I know that we’ve had more than two teams call us about him. I don’t know if they’re kicking tires or if they’re serious, but there has been interest from more than two teams, less than 10 teams. Are they all serious? I don’t know that. I can’t answer that.
The Ted question requires a follow-up. So does that mean you are preparing to lift the interim tag label off of him in that fact that you’ve had discussions about a contract extension?
We have discussed the possibility of moving forward. That’s all I’ll say. We’ve discussed that, yeah.
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