Tim Murray tried to make deals. He tried to be fair.
It didn’t matter. The Sabres failed to make any moves on a deadline day that Murray called the quietest since he arrived in the NHL.
“I just go with what’s put in front of me,” Murray said Wednesday. “I have no expectation going in. I made some calls. I made a lot of calls to set the table on trading away a couple guys. I made a few calls to see if I could make a hockey trade, get younger.
“This is the end result.”
The end result is the Sabres couldn’t unload potential assets in Dmitry Kulikov and Cody Franson. The market for rental defensemen showed movement, but not in Buffalo.
“I’m a little bit surprised,” Murray said in KeyBank Center. “We didn’t have a ton of UFAs, as you know. We had two on the back end that I thought would create some interest. I had some calls on them. Pricewise I was very open.
“My market was to just get fair value, so I didn’t miss out on trading a guy by demanding too much or by using previous trades in the day or the week as the template for what I had to do. I don’t think that came into play at all.
“I think I know the value of players, and I couldn’t make a trade. I think I’m honest to you guys. Am I disappointed? Of course I’m disappointed. We still have two players here who are here, so I don’t want to sit here and just say I couldn’t get anything for them. I don’t want them to walk in tomorrow with their tail between their legs here.”
The general manager did get a call on captain Brian Gionta, but the pending unrestricted free agent made it clear he wanted to stay in Buffalo. Gionta has a limited no-trade clause in which he listed five teams to which he’d accept a deal.
“I also to spoke to Brian Gionta today after I did get a call,” Murray said. “He’s the captain of our team. He’s a local guy. He’s a longtime player and a longtime character person in the league. I called him and asked him a couple questions and got answers.”
Murray also got calls on Evander Kane, but none regarding the 22-goal scorer intrigued the GM.
“I had a couple teams call on him,” Murray said. “I said, ‘I’m not actively trying to trade him. If that’s your goal this week, today or yesterday or whatever is, I said I’m willing to listen, as I am on all players.’
“I didn’t like what I heard. There was really no traction on that.”
Murray also was hesitant to embrace a contract extension for Kane, who has another year on his deal. The GM is not ready to believe the left winger has put his off-ice issues behind him. Kane and the Sabres can talk extension beginning July 1.
“I’d be open to that. I’m not sure I’m going to do that,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of bridges to cross before that time. But would I be open to it in a scenario where a couple things he has going on off the ice go away and stuff like that, absolutely.”
The full audio from Tim Murray's trade deadline press conference is now available at the Sabres Digital Press Box. https://t.co/iOgNs5mRcq
— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) March 1, 2017