BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Given the number of Buffalo Sabres players being mentioned in trade talks, interim coach Ted Nolan has established a running joke with captain Steve Ott.
"You don't want to make light of it, but every day when I walk in, I say, 'Steve, you're still here,'" Nolan said, with a chuckle after the team's pre-game skate Friday.
The question remains, for how long? And the buzz leading up to the NHL's trade deadline Wednesday hasn't been limited to Ott, who is in the final year of his contract and eligible to become a free agent this summer.
Goalie Ryan Miller, forward Matt Moulson and veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder are also being shopped because their contracts are coming up, too.
And add defenseman Christian Ehrhoff to the group after confirming he recently complied with the Sabres' request to submit a list of eight teams that would make up the no-trade clause of his contract.
Though the submission of the list doesn't guarantee Ehrhoff will be dealt, it suggests the 10-year veteran has been the subject of trade conversations.
Ehrhoff was not caught by surprise.
"No, not really because obviously, we are in 30th place and they have to be prepared," said Ehrhoff, who declined to reveal what teams were on his list. "It's just part of the business. I'll keep focusing on hockey."
The Sabres (17-34-8), who host San Jose on Friday, are bracing for a shakeup under newly hired general manager Tim Murray, who continues to drop major hints that he's eager to make big splashes in a bid to rebuild the NHL's worst team through youth.
On Tuesday, Murray confirmed he's shopping Miller, adding he's fielded calls from more than two but fewer than 10 teams.
On Friday, during an interview with Toronto's FAN 590, Murray narrowed the number of teams interested in Miller to about five, while adding that much of his entire roster is available.
"There's no untouchables," said Murray, who took over in early January. "It's a rebuild."
The Sabres are in the midst of an overhaul that began under Murray's predecessor, Darcy Regier, who was fired in November.