Buffalo's first move was to claim Cory Conacher after the Ottawa Senators put him on waivers. Sabres general manager Tim Murray knows Conacher and says he can fit in nicely with the Sabres.
"He was a free player, didn't cost us anything," Murray said of Conacher. "He cares. He's a good person. He's a competitive guy, he can skate. There's lots of things I like about him on the ice. He's what I like to call a good, complimentary player and if we had better players here to surround him, he'd be a better complimentary player, as most complimentary players usually are."
It was easy to see the Sabres make a claim for Conacher, given Buffalo's place in the standings and Murray's connection to him from his days in Ottawa. It's also easy to see Conacher playing for Ted Nolan, given his work ethic.
"I'm trying to establish a certain culture, and that's you earn what you get," Murray said. "His work ethic is terrific and he's character. I want competition. I want one of our draft picks to say today that they're pissed off that we went and got Cory Conacher. And that's how you create competition."
For a while it looked as if Conacher could be Buffalo's only move, until the Sabres sent Brayden McNabb, Jonathan Parker and two, second-round picks to the Los Angeles Kings for two highly sought after prospects in Nicolas Delauriers and Hudson Fasching.
"The two forwards we got, we really like the futures of," Murray said. "The two players we were getting back, we thought very highly of. So it wasn't a position thing. It was the two players."
Both forwards a big, power-forwards with skill and have mounds of upside. Fasching is currently at the University of Minnesota, while Delauriers is with the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL, where he is expected to remain.
The Sabres would replenish the two picks they traded to the Kings when they sent Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick to the Minnesota Wild. In return, the Sabres would receive a second round pick in 2014, formerly of the Winnipeg Jets, and another second rounder in 2016. The Sabres also received Torrey Mitchell as part of the deal.
Buffalo would put one final stamp on this year's deadline day, sending Jaroslav Halak and a third-round pick to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Michal Neuvirth and Rotislav Klesla. Murray said that his initial thought of Halak was to trade him, and that re-signing him would have only been an option if there wasn't a deal out there that he liked.
Despite swirling rumors, Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff are staying put in Buffalo, and much to the dismay of Sabres fans, Drew Stafford is also not going anywhere.
Murray will now turn his attention to the draft, where he says the Sabres could be even more active in pursuing young talent.
"I think it's a good day," Murray said. "I think the combination of the picks that we've added and the players that we've added, it gives us a ton of ammunition now going to the draft where there will be players available that aren't available on trade deadline day. A No. 2 twenty-four-year-old player is going to have a fallout 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 and we have, still, 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, and if they're not available, we use the picks, to hopefully, keep adding top, young talent."
The Sabres did what they were expected to do this season. Thomas Vanek, Ryan Miller and Steve Ott were all moved for plenty of assets. Matt Moulson was acquired, and then turned into more assets. And while the rest of the season, and probably next season, will be hard to watch for Sabres fans, the future with Murray looks as if it could be a bright one.
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