Murray hopes to move up at entry draft

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray concedes it will be difficult to find an immediate impact player with the club owning the 17th overall pick at the June 30 National Hockey League entry draft in New Jersey.

Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray concedes it will be difficult to find an immediate impact player with the club owning the 17th overall pick at the June 30 National Hockey League entry draft in New Jersey.

Murray, however, will be talking about trading up from that position at the general managers’ meetings in Boston Wednesday.

“Where we are right now, I don’t think we’ll get that top six (forward),” Murray said Tuesday. “Maybe if we’re patient enough and wait three or four years (to develop), but if you move up, there’s a chance to maybe get that better player.”

Murray says he has already spoken to four teams with high picks, but he recognizes that it will take a substantial offer to pry one of those early choices away.

“I’ve talked to a number of teams and asked them to consider possibility of flipping picks or doing something where they might get what they need out of it and we might get what we need out of it,” he said. “I don’t know if anybody will consider that, but I know as you get closer to the draft, if you have a pick very high up, it’s very hard to make the decision to move back. I’m not thinking that will happen, but we at least have to make the calls and to suggest we’re open to talk.”

There will be more discussions as both the draft and the opening of free agency on July 5 approach. Murray, who has made no secret of his pursuit of a high-scoring winger to add to the existing roster, will at least explore the possibility of packaging a draft pick and/or a current roster player to acquire an star from a team facing salary cap problems. James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Bobby Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks, anyone?

Murray concedes that his off-season shopping list is complicated by the uncertainty surrounding whether captain Daniel Alfredsson will opt to retire and the money which would have to be set aside for a new contract if he returns. Murray, who has spoken to Alfredsson in the past few days, says he’s not rushing the team’s captain into a decision.

“When he’s ready to give me an answer, I’m ready to talk,” Murray said. “In a budget, you have to have certain dollars put aside for certain players, (but if he doesn’t return), we’re not going to get a comparable player. We know that, in terms of all the intangibles he brings.”

On the topic of budgets, Murray concedes that coach Paul MacLean’s bargaining position is enhanced by the fact Alain Vigneault reportedly received a five-year, $10 million contract to coach the New York Rangers. MacLean, who won the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL coach of the year last Friday, has one year remaining on his current deal, but could receive an extension from the Senators as early as draft weekend. Murray, however, says there’s no rush to get the deal done tomorrow.

“He’s got a contract for next year and I don’t think he’s going to become a lobster fisherman or anything like that. I think he’s going to be okay.”

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