Transcript: Bryan Murray talks about the Fisher trade and the future

Here’s what Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray had to say about the Mike Fisher trade on Thursday.

Here’s what Ottawa Senators general manager Bryan Murray had to say about the Mike Fisher trade on Thursday.

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REPORTER: Question about the process that led to the trade.

BRYAN MURRAY: Well, a number of teams have been calling about a variety of our veteran players. Obviously there was real interest in Mike Fisher. There were about three or four teams that contacted me about him. I talked to David Poile long and hard, I thought for Mike’s sake and Carrie’s sake that being in Nashville was a good fit for him. It’s a tough trade for us. We know he’s been a good veteran here and he’s very popular with the fans but as we start to rebuild this hockey team and follow a plan that we’ve set out, we thought that it was the right place for him, it gives us some assets going forward, it frees up dollars obviously over the next few years and it gives us a chance to at least start he process of making this hockey team a good hockey team in the future.

REPORTER: Can you just elaborate on dealing a player of Mike’s stature on the team and in the community as well.

BM: Well, personally as well. He played well, obviously, when I coached. He’s a very good guy, a very popular guy, very popular with his teammates. Obviously a big member of the community. A guy that, when you do it, you have feelings in the pit of your stomach that are upsetting that you have to, if you’re going to go foreword, you have to do something of this magnitude. But as I say, it’s part of what we have to do going forward. This team has not performed very well, to say the least, but if we’re going to get ourselves to a stage where we’re more than just a competitive team in the future, we have a chance to draw maybe deep into the playoffs, we need assets, with young payers coming in, do a good job in the draft and, unfortunately, that means you’re parting with some of the veteran players that are here.

REPORTER: Not going to be a popular move, there’s no doubt about that but maybe blame is the wrong word to use, but the record is perhaps what is to blame for this?

BM: Well, without a doubt. If we’re fighting to pick first in the draft this year, we haven’t performed very well. But with the group of players that we had here, we certainly thought going into the season that this was a very competitive hockey team and we haven’t performed that way. It’s not trying to penalize anybody. What it is trying to do, is use our assets to acquire assets for the future. Draft picks, whatever it may be, young prospects eventually, for the future. So it’s not popular and I wouldn’t think it should be, in that fans care about our hockey team, they care about individuals on our hockey team and Mike is one of the good individuals. The good thing I think we were able to do at the end of the day was put him in a place where, No. 1) He can play in the playoffs and No. 2) He should be able to set up a home with his wife and not be commuting back and forth to Ottawa.

REPORTER: Bryan, you mentioned a number of teams contacted you but the process itself — did you have to let him know he was going there, was he a part of it and if so, how did he take the news?

BM: I met Mike some time ago about the possibility of being traded. He indicated he didn’t want to be traded to start of with, that he really loved Ottawa, he’s been treated well in Ottawa. In turn that if he was going to be traded, I would take into consideration where. So we did communicate that.

REPORTER: What was his reaction?

BM: What was his reaction? When you’re here a long time, he’s disappointed in one extent, but knows that things had to happen, were going to happen in all likelihood here. He thanked me for where I placed him. He thought that if he was going anywhere, that was his No. 1 place to go. That’s what I told David Poile when we had our conversations about making the deal that, I can pass up on a couple of other deals if we can get this done, because this is where Mike, if he can’t be in Ottawa, would like to be.

REPORTER: How much more work do you have to do in the coming weeks?

BM: We’ll be talking about a lot of people at this point in time. We have some unrestricted people who would probably like to play in the playoffs. We’ve got some other people…we’ve got to make some room for younger players, so there will be some…I suspect, if other teams are interested, will be lots of conversations.

REPORTER: Do you believe that’ll happen? More deals?

BM: There will be some deals. I don’t know how many, I don’t even pretend to know that, but there will be more deals. If we’re going to do…follow our plan that we’ve outlined going forward, we have to make room for some people. We’re obviously going to acquire draft picks if we can and give ourselves a chance to pick as high as we can in this year’s draft and get good assets for the organization.

REPORTER: How good can this team be six months from now?

BM: Well, that’s a good question. You know, I think only time will tell. I feel we have some real top young players coming. Robin Lehner, Erik Karlsson, Jared Cowen, David Rundblad, probably a couple forwards that I could mention, so we are going to have to open the door for some of these younger players to get a chance to play come September and to do that…the hard part of the business, the very hard part of the business, is saying goodbye to some of the veteran players.

REPORTER: You’re going to have to keep some of the veterans to work around those young kids. What are the type of characters you’re looking to keep to build around ad in that sense was Mike hard to let go?

BM: Well he’s a character guy and a competitive guy and it was hard to let him go. We have to find something like him, character-wise, we need obviously some skill, we need some experience, we need hard-working guys and that describes Mike fisher to a tee. He was one of the valuable commodities we had, without a doubt. He carried a contract that probably fees up a little bit of money to do something else in that area in the future.

REPORTER: How much did the contract weigh against him?

BM: I don’t know that it weighed against him a lot, but it certainly is part of every decision you make. If we’re going to allow some people to come into the lineup, you have to have some opportunities financially, as well as talent to make it happen.

REPORTER: In the short term, not having him on the roster, does that give opportunities to younger kids?

BM: We have Jim O’Brien here and Bobby Butler now and if we have to make another move or two with a younger player to come up, we will do that.

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