Tim Murray emerged from the NHL general mangers meetings Thursday night the Hyatt Regency with this bit of news: He's not moving up in Friday's NHL Draft, although it's not for a lack of trying.
"Right now I can't move up into the top three, so I don't see a point of moving to four or five or six," Murray told The Buffalo News. "There's three guys I've said all along we're interested in. We may have a choice but I doubt it. That's how we read the draft. We're happy with those three guys. There's no point in moving to four or five. We don't see that big a difference to play a big price."
The Sabres are believed to covet two defensemen out of the trio of London's Olli Juolevi, Windsor's Mikhail Sergachev and Sarnia's Jakob Chychrun. So while No. 8 is the highest it appears the Sabres will pick, there's no guarantee they will make the pick.
Several sources say talks continue between the Sabres and Anaheim Ducks for defenseman Cam Fowler, and it's a good bet the No. 8 pick could be part of the package. Murray, of course, isn't talking specifics but did say "things are getting clearer and there are players available" now that the salary cap for next year is set at $73 million.
Another source said Tim Murray and Anaheim GM Bob Murray are expected to talk again here Friday morning.
In other news from Tim Murray:
---The GM met with Jimmy Vesey's agents Friday morning and will return to speak to their client about negotiating with the Sabres after Buffalo acquired the rights to the Hobey Baker winner on Monday. "They are going to relay the message we gave them to Jimmy," Tim Murray said. "I think we'll go there or try to get Jimmy in here and see exactly where they are."
---The Sabres will start the process of interviewing free agents and speaking to their agents here Saturday when NHL rules permit the discussions. And that will almost certainly include representatives for Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos.
"The agents are in the building. Between picks I can take a stroll over to a potential free agent's agent and say, 'Is there any reason for us to talk or not talk?''' Murray said. "If they don't want to come to Buffalo they're not going to say, 'Yeah, let's have a talk.' We don't want our time wasted and they don't want to waste theirs. If a guy legitimately want to come here, I think we'll hear and we'll get an interview."
---Murray said coaches and GMs met on challenges and some confusion continues on goalie interference. But the process on offsides may be streamlined next season.
"It's going to the league," he said. "By the time the play stops, they'll bring the linesmen to the bench and say offside or not offside. The linesmen aren't going to have to review it. Ninety percent of the time it will be done by the time the linesmen go over to the bench."