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Sabres GM: We're open for business

by Joe Yerdon

BUFFALO -- The Buffalo Sabres are open for business as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches, but general manager Tim Murray said Tuesday there's not a lot of activity yet.

"Very quiet. Quieter than I guess maybe was expecting," Murray said before the start of the Sabres' game against the Carolina Hurricanes at First Niagara Center. "I thought that when everybody was back from [the] Sochi [Olympics] that there'd be a lot of calls, but I guess some guys got back yesterday and maybe they're still jetlagged. We've got a couple playing tonight so I'll give it a couple more days I guess."

The trade deadline is 3 p.m. ET on March 5. The Sabres, last in the overall NHL standings, have nine players in the final year of their contracts who can be unrestricted free agents this summer. Of those nine, goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott figure to draw the most attention from contending teams.

Miller, 33, has been a fixture in Buffalo for the past nine seasons. He helped lead the Sabres to the Eastern Conference Final in 2006 and 2007 and has become the face of the franchise.

"I know that we've had more than two teams call us about him," Murray said. "I don't know if they're kicking tires or if they're serious but there has been interest from more than two teams, less than 10 teams. Are they all serious? I don't know that. I can't answer that."

But with Miller nearing unrestricted free agency, Murray doesn't anticipate he's looking to sign an extension with the Sabres.

"The route we're looking at is to get value for him, to put him in a position to succeed as a … good soldier [to the Sabres]," Murray said. "By trading Ryan to a contender, a good team that's lacking only his position, I think that we've certainly not done a disservice to him and helped the organization in our own right. Our goal right now I think, on both sides, is to pursue a proper trade."

Ott, 31, is in his second season with the Sabres and first as captain. Murray said he likes what the center brings to the team on and off the ice.

"Steve Ott is the type of player I've looked for for 21 years," he said. "In drafting, and the type of person, and the type of player, the way he plays the game and conducts himself; that's not the type of player I want to trade away. That's the type of player I want to bring in… We're not a playoff team and that changes the dynamic, obviously."

Murray realizes he may not get as much in return as he'd like.

"Ideally, in a perfect world, if teams would give me two real good young players that are two years or so into their development, that would be outstanding," Murray said. "But I don't think teams are going to bend over backwards to make life easier for us, so it's going to be the determination will be made what the best deal is offered. If it's draft picks, it's draft picks and we'll turn them into other assets and players. Ideally, young players that are a little bit along in their development will be great."

With eight days to go before the deadline, the Sabres are ready to do business.

"I think we've got lots of value here," Murray said. "Now if we can get value for them is the other question."

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