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Tim Murray talks trades, draft, and expectations for next year

Every time Buffalo Sabres general manager Tim Murray speaks, it’s quickly becoming a must-listen event. Not only is Murray honest in his opinions, but he’s not afraid to talk strategy and share his thoughts on both his own and his potential future players.

Murray went on Sabres Hockey Hotline on WGR yesterday, and was his typically wonderful self answering Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters‘ questions on the current state of the Sabres, the draft, the trade market, and more. You can listen to the interview here, and read some choice quotes below.

On trades:

“It’s been surprisingly quiet. People aren’t even kicking tires, I guess.”

“I read every day that I’m trading Tyler Myers, I read every day I’m trading this guy, that guy. I don’t know where it comes from, because it doesn’t come from me.”

“I think other teams know exactly where I stand. We have to get better, and our better is not today, our better is in the future. I think they know that I’m ready to listen, I’m ready to be a trade partner if it makes sense. In saying that, though, the amount of rumors out there are probably fifty times more than the conversations I’ve had.”

“I’ve talked to a couple of our veteran guys – definitely Gionta – and said, ‘I’m not here to rip this team apart, but we’re not going to lose a pending free agent for nothing.'”

On next season:

“I believe with our first pick, we’re obviously going to get a big-time player. We have two other picks in the first round – we’ll get good players with them if we use those picks. Will we use those picks to trade for a certain player because a team has to get under the cap? It’s exciting to thin about, and I think it speeds up the process. We know you have to be patient, you have to do your work, and it takes time to get better, but there are situations in the league that allow you to get better, quicker.”

“If we get it right this year, that’s not the end of the rebuild but I want to be competitive, I want to try to make the playoffs, and then pick 18 overall.”

On the farm system:

“We can’t be up in the clouds with Hockey’s Future and ISS and all these outside organizations that deem us to be the best organization in hockey for draft picks or prospects, because reality says some of these guys won’t play [in the NHL]. In saying that, we do know we’ve got good young players coming. We had a good draft last year, and they’re not close to playing – other than Sam – these guys need to go back to junior, these guys need to go to the AHL, but a couple of them will be good NHL players. This year’s draft with a high pick, a few other firsts, and a few seconds – we have to be very productive in this draft.”

On McDavid:

“He forces you to watch him, that’s what he does. You go, ‘I want to watch somebody else’ but he forces me to watch him. But that’s him. That’s why he’s going to go extremely high in the draft, that’s why he’s a generational player, and I love him for that.”

And my favorite deadpan Murray exchange:

Andrew Peters: “Now I know you don’t have a crystal ball in front of you-“

Murray: “I do, actually. I’m rubbing it right now.”

Never change, Tim.