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Murray, Sabres sitting tight for now

It seems every time Tim Murray sits down or gets ready to talk, his phone rings. The Sabres’ general manager figures the calls will continue through the summer.

He hopes one of these times it’s a fellow GM who’s willing to overpay in a trade. That’s the only way another team is going to get one of his young guys.

Murray’s summer focus, with the free-agent frenzy behind him, is to sign a few minor-league players and help Ted Nolan hire a coaching staff. He doesn’t plan more newsworthy waves, at least not on his own.

“Whatever other surprises come, come,” Murray said Wednesday. “That certainly won’t be me. It’ll be if somebody likes someone on our team.”

The guys people tend to like are defenseman Tyler Myers and forwards Tyler Ennis, Cody Hodgson and Marcus Foligno.

“I expect them all to be on the team,” Murray said in First Niagara Center. “Other teams want them, so they call and ask, and you listen. You listen only because they may do something crazy.

“We don’t make the calls on those guys. We’re not looking to trade those guys. In saying that, when you get a call you listen, as if I would call another team on their good young player, of course they’re going to listen. You’re going to hang up. They’re going to say, ‘He’s crazy,’ or, ‘He’s actually willing to overpay.’ ”

Provided no one overpays, those key players will share a dressing room with Brian Gionta in September. The Sabres’ top acquisition got a look at his new building Wednesday. He shook Murray’s hand and pulled a Sabres sweater over his head.

Buffalo’s new No. 12 then went to the Sabres Store to get gear for his three kids. He knew what they’d like because he was once a young Buffalo fan.

“This was my childhood team growing up, and it’s a dream to play for them and put on the jersey,” Gionta said.

While the former Montreal captain is excited, he felt he should temper some of the enthusiasm that accompanied him, Matt Moulson, Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros into Buffalo.

“By no means am I going to come here and work miracles,” Gionta said. “I just try to be a presence and be somebody for the young guys coming along, being around and having some experience in the league that they can be a sounding board.”

The 35-year-old knows how important it is to have a respected veteran available. He was able to spend time with Scott Stevens, Joe Nieuwendyk and Jamie Langenbrunner during his formative years in New Jersey.

“They were great to me as a young guy, and all that experience carries over when you develop and become an older player in how you treat guys,” Gionta said.

“They showed me how to be a professional, how to conduct yourself on and off the ice. You’re talking a few Hall of Famers on that list.”

Murray, like most of the National Hockey League, was free of transactions Wednesday after a hectic July 1. GMs and agents needed to take a breath and rework their depth charts.

“A guy that thought Buffalo was a great opportunity yesterday to sign a two-way contract may look at what we did, and if he’s a right winger he may say somewhere else is a better opportunity today,” Murray said. “That’s just the way it works.”

One guy expected to look elsewhere is Steve Ott. While there was mutual interest between the Sabres and their former captain, it has waned with Buffalo’s big moves.

“I don’t know if he’s a possibility,” said Murray, who enjoyed his chance to take a breath. “I certainly reflected on what we did and was very happy with what we did.”


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