Patience will be a virtue for Bryan Murray in the next week.

With six days until the first round of the NHL entry draft Friday night in Philadelphia, the Senators GM will have to wait before he gets his best offer for captain Jason Spezza.

The issue for the Senators is simple: The market is crowded at the moment and Spezza isn't the only top centre available for hire. People who watch a lot of hockey have a hard time recalling the last time there were this many big names available heading into the summer.

All this is not making it easy for Murray and he knows the teams trying to do the buying are sitting in a position of strength.

"I've talked to other teams that have centres, they don't know what they're doing any more than I do as far as what value they can get for these people," said Murray Thursday. "It does give a team that's trying to acquire one a little leverage, there's no doubt about that."

Unless someone gives him a deal he can't refuse between now and then Murray will likely have to sit tight until next Thursday before the suitors make get serious with their best pitch.

The St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks both have extensive interest in Spezza but you have to think both are waiting for the 11th hour to make what will be their best offers.

While Brad Richards, bought out by the New York Rangers Friday, wouldn't be included in the group, the Canucks are trying to move Ryan Kesler, Colorado's Paul Stastny is set to go UFA and San Jose may move Joe Thornton.

Yup, the picture is muddled in a very big way.

In the case of Kesler, he requested a trade last fall and only wants to go to either the Chicago Blackhawks or Pittsburgh Penguins and Stastny is talking contract with the Avalanche.