The Sabres were able to make only one deal at a quiet NHL trade deadline, shipping Jamie McGinn to Anaheim for a third-round draft pick that can become a second-rounder. It’s another pick that can help Buffalo be much busier this spring.
The Sabres own 21 picks in the next two NHL Drafts, giving General Manager Tim Murray the flexibility to bid on established players like he has previously with Ryan O’Reilly and Evander Kane.
“We have a ton of picks, a ton of picks that don’t have to be used on draft day, which I’ve said since I’ve got here,” Murray said Monday in First Niagara Center. “Whether you like the trades I’ve made or not, I have shipped out quite a few picks for a more established player, a more finished product. I think we have a lot of options again going forward in the next two drafts.”
The pick acquired for McGinn will be a 2016 third-round selection unless the Ducks win two playoff rounds while using the forward in 50 percent of their games. If those conditions are met, the Sabres will instead get a 2017 second-round pick.
McGinn was the Sabres’ top asset on the trade market. He and the Sabres never came close to a contract extension.
“We had a couple different offers, and I thought that Anaheim was the best fit because of the team that they have there,” Murray said. “That’s what we’ve tried to do is find a good fit for guys that you know are going out anyway. Anaheim to me was the team that had the best chance to win out of the teams that I spoke to.”
The Sabres were not able to move their other pending unrestricted free agents – Chad Johnson, David Legwand or Carlo Colaiacovo – on a day that saw just one deal before noon and 18 overall.
“You need a partner to dance,” Murray said. “There were some inquiries, but I felt when I got the calls it was just tire-kicking. I’m not going to get disappointed over something I have no control over.
“It’s the same every year. We’ve sat up there for five days and nights, and we think we were prepared for every scenario. You’re making calls and getting calls, but there’s no urgency. I guess as we all know in any walk of life there’s never urgency until there’s a deadline. I never did my homework until the day the project had to be in. From 2 o’clock to 3 o’clock it was stupid, and I’m mad at every other GM because of it. I don’t understand it, but that’s the way it is.”