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Sabres' Murray still not concerned with cap floor, is targeting veteran free agents; McBain not qualified

198102  McCoy Sports Sabres
Sabres general manager Tim Murray introduces first-round draft pick Sam Reinhart at a press conference at First Niagara Center today. (James P. McCoy/ Buffalo News)

By John Vogl

The Buffalo Sabres are about $20 million away from the salary cap floor on the day before free agency, and General Manager Tim Murray remains unconcerned about his ability to reach it.

Murray, who introduced first-round draft pick Sam Reinhart this morning in First Niagara Center, says plenty of teams near the cap ceiling will start dumping contracts if they get their free-agent targets. That will be benefit the Sabres in their attempt to boost payroll.

Murray says he's been getting a lot of calls from representatives of unrestricted free agents, but he's not sure if the Sabres are first on the players' lists or 20th. That holds true for Steve Ott and Matt Moulson.

The Sabres' top free-agent targets will be older, character guys who can help mentor the prospects. Murray said this crop is filled with those players, but they shouldn't expect more than a one- or two-year deal because the GM doesn't want his prospects' path to the NHL blocked when they're ready to make the jump.

Today is the deadline for restricted free agents to receive qualifying offers, and Murray said defenseman Jamie McBain and goalie Connor Knapp will not be qualified. That makes them unrestricted free agents.

Cory Conacher, according to Murray, is a "maybe" get a qualifying offer. Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Chad Ruhwedel, Luke Adam and Matt Hackett will all be qualified.

To hear from Murray and Reinhart, click the audio file below

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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |