We're less than a quarter of the way through the NHL season so if you're looking for Tim Murray to do something drastic with the Sabres' injury plagued lineup, you might have a long wait. With so many players on their roster counting the injured, the Sabres have a daily struggle to stay below the salary cap and aren't going to be able to take on another big contract
"I've made some calls just to see what's going on and what's out there. It's very hard to make a trade because it has to be money for money," Murray said Thursday night during his weekly appearance on WGR Radio. "We've had 27 guys on our roster right now and we're right up against the cap so it's a daily grind.
"There's no GM out there going into his office in the morning saying, 'Let's give Tim Murray a hand here. Let's help him out here. We feel bad for him.' That's not going to happen. Plug away and see if we can get something done. Right now there's just been a lot of vague talk and nothing specific."
Murray said the Sabres will continue to get a look at their young prospects from Rochester, notably William Carrier and Nicholas Baptiste.
"I think I can get a fourth liner from a team or a sixth or seventh defenseman from a team," Murray said. "But at the end of the day, some of these kids we have up will play a regular role here. Some won't. So if nothing else, and this is not a silver lining, but if nothing else, being able to play Carrier and Baptiste over a 36-year-old castoff from another team ... I'd rather play the kids rather than making a change for change's sake."
Murray didn't have much to add on the Sabres' plethora of injuries other than confirming what's been suspected: Center Ryan O'Reilly's lingering ailment is an oblique issue.
"I'm concerned for sure," Murray said. "In the position he plays, there's a lot of twisting and turning when you're taking draws and shooting the puck. I would like to see it settle down and rehabbbed and do the right thing. He's a competitive guy and he thinks he's around 70 percent now or so. When he gets to 80, he'll want to play so what's the right thing?"
Murray acknowledged the team's coaching staff is frustrated by the run of injuries, given the promise the season held during training camp. During development camp in July, remember, head coach Dan Bylsma said his goal was a 95-point season.
"It's a little bit frustrating from my end of it. We've got a job to do from day to day," Murray said. "The coaches know they have to get through this. There will be brighter days ahead, hopefully sooner rather than later. But we know this is not our team on the ice. We're looking forward to at some point having the team on the ice and seeing what we really need to get better or if we're good enough. I guess we'll see at that time."
Murray disagreed with the notion the season is slipping away on the Sabres, who entered Thursday last in the Atlantic Division and 15th out of 16 teams in the Eastern Conference.
"I don't think so," he said. "I think you're going to see a lot of injuries this year. Maybe we'll have ours early and sail through the second half. I don't know. You're seeing top end guys going down every day. Somebody else is going to get their turn at this agony we're going through right now. I don't wish that on anybody. It's just the reality of the game.
"We're doing what we said we'd try to do. Tread water and stay in the hunt. There's a point where you're in the hunt or you're not in the hunt. I don't think we're out of the hunt for a playoff spot yet but certainly we're not going in the right direction."