Scanlan: Murray looking for right deal

One week before the NHL trade deadline, Senators general manager Bryan Murray is waiting for the first domino to fall.

One week before the NHL trade deadline, Senators general manager Bryan Murray is waiting for the first domino to fall.

Murray said Tuesday that he fielded three or four calls at home the previous night from other GMs, checking on possibilities ahead of the March 5 deadline. No deals done. But with so many teams still in contention, and the league just coming off the Olympic break, the window of opportunity is fleeting.

“I’m like every other manager, just trying to see what’s right,” Murray said. “There’s a few players everybody’s looking to do something with and the price is real high to do that. I guess it will play out.”

It will play out once a big name or two gets moved to break the inertia.

One GM told Murray he has a couple of players he wants to deal, but doesn’t expect to until the better free agents move, clearing the way for secondary deals.

In a perfect world, Murray would like to acquire for the Senators a veteran NHL forward who still has some term remaining.

“That’s more of what I’m looking at, really,” Murray said. “If I can make the right deal to get a guy that’s played in the league, that has a little term in his contract, then we would get a chance to get to know him and he’d get a chance to get to know us, and maybe then keep him around, that’s the ideal thing for me.”

That is not to say the Senators will rule out signing a pending free agent.

“What’s the price a team like us would pay for a guy to come in here and play 20 games and in all likelihood move on?” Murray asked, rhetorically. “It’s a dilemma and a consideration and something we are daily talking about. I’m talking to GMs and we’ll evaluate each individual case as it comes along if it does come along, and hopefully make the right decision.”

Murray admitted he has spoken with his nephew, the new Buffalo Sabres GM, Tim Murray, about a possible deal. The rebuilding Sabres have a number of big name players available, including forwards Matt Moulson, Steve Ott and goaltender Ryan Miller.

“I made a proposal on one and he said, ‘it’s all business, Bryan, you know that.’ He’s asking high.”

Regarding his own unrestricted free agents, who include forward Milan Michalek and defencemen Chris Phillips and Joe Corvo, the sense is that Murray would like to keep his veterans around as long as there’s belief the Senators can make a playoff push. As action resumed Tuesday, the Senators were just one point out of a wild card position in the tight Eastern Conference.

“That’s the question we’re going through every day now, and I’ve asked the coaches, I’ve asked our staff – are we legitimate to take a run at a playoff spot?” Murray said. “And if we are, why would I do that (deal pending UFAs).

“I see teams acquiring unrestricted free agents and paying a fairly big price to stay in the race. That’s one of the questions asked of me all the time, so if I have guys we like and they’re unrestricted in the summer time we may well just stick with them and finish the year. And then make the decision at that point.”

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