BUFFALO – General manager Tim Murray knows with three high-profile unrestricted free agents the Sabres’ phones “will ring off the hook here going forward.”
Franchise goalie Ryan Miller, top scorer Matt Moulson and gritty captain Steve Ott will be coveted by teams before the NHL trade deadline.
What will Murray, who was named GM today, do?
“I can’t go out right now and tell you I’m going to trade all the pending UFAs if there’s no market to trade them,” Murray said today inside the First Niagara Center. “If there’s a market and it makes sense, this team’s in last place right now, everybody can be traded. It has to make sense. You don’t just make trades for me to come in here and show you guys that I’m active and I think I’m smart.”
Miller’s future could become the talk of the league. The franchise netminder, who didn’t speak this morning, said last month he wanted actions, not words, from the Sabres.
“Obviously, the most important thing to do is listen to what Ryan Miller wants to do,” president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine said after introducing Murray. “Obviously, we’ve love to keep a great goalie like that who knows Buffalo. Everybody loves him here.
“But at the same instance, I got to know what he wants to do. And if it fits into the plan long-term and financially it’s a good fit, Ryan Miller will be here. And if not, if he doesn’t want to be here, we’ll make the best choice for the future of the organization.”
LaFontaine said 33-year-old Miller, who will represent Team USA at the upcoming Sochi Games, has “shown that he’s a heck of a goalie.”
“He still has a lot in him,” he said. “He takes care of himself.”
Goalies like Miller are hard to find.
“To come by a goalie like that, who wants to stay here, should he want to choose to stay here, it gives us an opportunity to develop,” LaFontaine said. “If he wants to be here under the right terms, I think you love to keep Ryan Miller.”