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Franson, Kulikov and Gionta react to staying in Buffalo

It was an anxious afternoon for Cody Franson and his family. Every time his phone made a noise, his wife perked up, wondering if there was news of a trade.

There was no news. And no news was good news.

The 3 p.m. trade deadline passed on Wednesday and Franson remained a member of the Buffalo Sabres. He returned to KeyBank Center Thursday for the morning skate in advance of the game against the Arizona Coyotes.

"Yesterday was a little bit of a stressful day," Franson said in KeyBank Center. "There’s no way around that, but I’m very happy with the turnout. I enjoy it here. I like it here. I’d like to remain here. When I didn’t get the call I was happy."

Franson, scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, was one of the players pundits figured was likely to be traded. The defenseman admitted to being "a little bit" surprised he wasn't dealt "with everything that’s been going on and been said. It’s one of those things you try to prepare yourself for so if it does happen it’s not catching you off guard. You try to be prepared and be able to put your best foot forward when the situation happens but to not have it happen I was very happy."

Also staying put as a member of the Sabres blue line is Dmitry Kulikov. Scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, he has been hampered by a back injury and has underperformed when in the lineup.

"Obviously there were a lot of rumors and I thought something was going to happen," Kulikov said. "It's good to stay put and keep battling with these guys and not go anywhere. On the other hand, I would have liked the opportunity somewhere else, too."

Brian Gionta was not looking for an opportunity somewhere else. The Sabres captain has a limited no-trade clause where he can approve a trade to one of five undisclosed teams. Teams called general manager Tim Murray about Gionta on Wednesday. Murray in turn called Gionta and the two had a conversation which kept the Rochester native in Buffalo.

Quiet deadline for Sabres is 'speed bump'

"At the end of the day, this game is a business and anything can happen," Gionta said. "I’m thankful for the open dialogue. I thought we had a pretty good conversation and it’s going to stay between us obviously but the fact that both sides expressed their positions, it was good."

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