Tim Murray was one of the busiest men in the league on trade deadline day, and despite making a number of moves that significantly reordered with franchise depth chart and draft order, Murray says he's not finished overhauling the Sabres team, from NHL to prospect pipeline.
One of the things Buffalo's new GM wants to add to his system is internal competition. Speaking on his deadline day haul, Murray explained, "We have to add players. We have to create inner-competition, and this is the start of it." For a team that will have a swath of young players soon fighting for NHL ice time, Murray will need to hope that competition helps reveal who's worthy of a roster spot over the next few seasons.
The Sabres aren't done making moves, either. Despite the trade deadline being over for just a few hours, Murray is already looking forward to the draft, not only for the inevitable high picks, but as another place to make deals. He had this to say in his post-deadline press conference, text courtesy of The Buffalo News:
A No. 2, 24-year-old left winger is going to fall out with his coach after they lose in the first round. Whatever the case may be, there’s always good, young players available at the draft. We still have a ton of picks to be players in that. We have young players to be players in that.
We were a focus today, I think, and I think on draft day if those types of players are available, we can be a focus again. If they’re not available, we use the picks and hopefully keep adding top young talent.
Using recent trade history, that "24 year old falling out of favor with his coach" sounds a lot like the comparatively small price that Dallas got Tyler Seguin for, doesn't it? That's the sort of off-the-radar deal that can greatly speed along a rebuild if it can be sniffed out and completed.
Murray this weekend proved he was aggressive, going after prospects from Los Angeles that weren't on the board, claiming Cory Conacher off waivers, and trading two of his biggest assets five days before he had to do so. Being aggressive always comes with risks, but it's Murray's show now, and he clearly believes in the moves he's making. The Sabres should be very interesting to watch come draft time with their new, aggressive mindset, and will be huge players not only on the draft board, but possibly on the floor as well.
The rebuild is far from over, and it's actually closer to just beginning as far this weekend's final roster meltdown shows. The Sabres are now almost devoid of above average NHL talent save for a handful of players, but with a surging AHL team and new blood in the pipeline, the odds for success in the future keep going up little by little. The Sabres are a long way from the finish line, but this weekend Murray has shown that he isn't afraid to change up the course a bit if he thinks it's for the best.