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Murray stands pat at trade deadline as Senators show signs of improvement

03/02/2015 04:54 EST | Updated 05/02/2015 05:59 EDT
OTTAWA - Bryan Murray has never been afraid to make a move at the trade deadline, but for the first time since taking over as general manager of the Ottawa Senators he felt it was best to do nothing.

Three weeks ago the Senators appeared to be in free-fall as they sat 14 points out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. But after going 7-1-1 in their last nine games Ottawa is seven points out with two games in hand on the Boston Bruins, who hold the final spot.

"I had quite a number of phone calls and we did attempt to do one or two minor things," said Murray. "We've got a real young group, for the most part, I'm very happy now that we see development in a lot of the younger guys. Our team's getting better. We feel that way. There were a couple inquiries on a couple of players, but they weren't the people I wanted to move."

The Senators had been hoping to unload some contracts and move a defenceman, but Murray was unable to complete any kind of transaction.

Ideally Murray would have liked to unload Colin Greening's contract, but with two years and US$5.2 million remaining no one was interested in picking up the 28-year-old forward.

With eight defencemen under contract it was believed Murray was looking to move Patrick Wiercioch or Eric Gryba. The 36-year-old Chris Phillips had also been mentioned, but with a ten-team no trade list and one year remaining on his contract worth $2.5 million it was unlikely. Also, Phillips has told Murray he would prefer staying in Ottawa.

"I did talk about one (defenceman)," said Murray. "I thought we had something going, at the very end the other team couldn't get it done on their part."

Murray said a decision on which defenceman to move will likely take place prior to the NHL Entry Draft or during the off-season as he would like to give a rearguard down the depth chart the opportunity to play on a regular basis.

Erik Condra, who is a pending unrestricted free agent, was often mentioned leading up to the trade deadline, but has played a significant role during the team's five-game winning streak and is well-liked by coach Dave Cameron and his teammates.

Murray said he did get calls regarding Condra, but wasn't comfortable moving him at this point of the season. A decision on Condra's future with the organization will be made over the course of the summer.

"I think he brings enough to the table that it would be unfair for me to take away from our dressing room at this time of year," said Murray. "A guy that has that kind of character in the room and that kind of leadership in the room."

When asked about his future Murray, who is battling terminal colon cancer, remained vague. Murray said his health, his family and the organization will all play a factor on whether or not he returns as general manager.

"It's just a matter of making the right decision for everyone involved."

Notes: Phillips appears poised to return from injury. G Robin Lehner is still battling effects from a concussion, while LW Clarke MacArthur is making progress from his concussion. RW Chris Neil is still expected to be out three-four weeks due to a broken thumb.

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