The 2014 NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and for the first time in 12 season’s the Buffalo Sabres had a new general manager at the helm in Tim Murray. Murray came into town on a rebuilding mission with a plan in his head which he was going to execute no matter who stepped in his way. So, how did Tim Murray do with the Buffalo Sabres in his first NHL trade deadline?
Deadline Grade- B+
Whether you believe the returns were too much or too little, the one thing you can’t argue is that Tim Murray did exactly what had to do at the deadline. He got rid of the big UFA’s and turned them into picks and prospects for the future. The prices at the deadline were pretty cheap, so maybe he didn’t get max return but at least he made deals. If Darcy Regier was still here we might still have Miller, Ott and Moulson in blue and gold and risk losing them for nothing.
While it came down to the wire for the last two deals, trickling in right around 3pm, Murray managed to make 3 trades at
the deadline, claiming one player off waivers and make one deal before the deadline. Not a bad week for Mr. Murray as a first time GM at his first trade deadline.
Murray shipped seven players and three picks out of town and brought in several key player to help going forward including a goaltender with playoff experience, a top level NCAA player, two new forwards and four draft picks.
Perhaps Murray’s best deal was pulling the trigger for long-time goaltender Ryan Miller well ahead of the deadline, maximizing the value. The market was slow and players were going for cheap, Murray would not have been able to land a solid return for Miller if he had waited until March 5th.
In addition to the adding and subtraction of veterans and young prospects, Murray also played his cards right by holding on to Christian Ehrhoff, Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford and Tyler Ennis. All four players were rumoured to be on the market and there were strong rumours at least three of the four had been dealt, however none of them are upcoming free agents and with the low prices it’s better to find a deal for them in the offseason or at the draft.
One of the best Sabres moves of the day did not come via trade, instead it came via waiver wire claim as the Sabres picked up Cory Conacher on Wednesday morning after he was waived by the Ottawa Senators. Although small and inconsistent, Conacher has speed and skill, under Ted Nolan he may just round into shape. Conacher adds more legitimacy to the Sabres top 6 going forward and considering it cost nothing to land him, one shouldn’t complain too much.
Murray managed to flip Matt Moulson, Ryan Miller and Steve Ott into Michal Neuvirth, a goalie with the potential to be the Sabres next starter, Cory Conacher and top NCAA prospect Hudson Fasching. Not a bad trade deadline season for Tim Murray.
What grade would you give Murray for the his deadline moves?