Buffalo Sabres Miller Thriller
As the beginning of the end of the season has arrived with Chicago’s triple overtime win in game one against Boston, the rest of the league is thinking about trade negotiations. Many fans’ eyes are on the Buffalo Sabres’ organisational leaders as the trade rumors and speculations are looming. After the loss of Captain Jason Pominville, Darcy Regier sent a message to all of us (Sabres fans and hockey fans alike) that no one is safe from cleaning out their lockers. Among roster players, Ryan Miller is at the top of the list for negotiations.
While Miller pulls in the second largest paycheck (behind Vanek) now that Pominville is gone, he is the sole reason why this very Buffalo team has sustained itself for so long. He is the most vital asset to the defense as well as being a true leader on and off the ice. With that being said, Miller’s time in Buffalo has come to a glorious end!
After playing his 500th career game against the Islanders at First Niagara Center on April 26th, whether he comes back or not is irrelevant, being that he would have left on such a high note. Based upon interviews, one could tell that he has gotten sick and tired of just falling short of the true glory he deserves, as well as the great hockey the community of Buffalo deserves to be entertained with. That ultimate goal was not the same for him as it was for the Sabres organisation as a whole until Terry Pegula took over as the new owner. Simply enough, he deserves to finish his career outside of Buffalo. He even stated that he has plenty of hockey still left in him!
It is only a matter of time before Miller leaves, but one way or another he will leave. There is no doubt in my mind that he will make the decision not to re-sign just as Buffalo does not want to re-sign him anyway. So, when it comes to elite goaltenders, Miller is probably the most valuable one on the market, seeing as Luongo has not been the same as he used to be for quite some time now. The idea that has been floating around of Patrick Roy being interested in Miller for the first overall draft pick is not out of the question. With a regime change like that in Colorado, Roy pulls a lot of weight in making decisions now that he is the head coach, and they are in great need of strength between the pipes. If that means making a package deal with Miller and either the 8th or 16th pick, then so be it. Miller will be better off somewhere else if what he wants is a Stanley Cup title before he retires, and Buffalo will be better off with the draft picks to better the rebuilding process. Who knows, if that first pick ends up in the hands of the Sabres, having a stud like Drouin, Jones, or Mackinnon in a blue and gold sweater could very well land Buffalo in the playoffs once again.
With Jhonas Enroth’s stellar performance at the World Championships, boasting not only a .956 save percentage but a gold medal too, he is more than fit to live up to the standards for goaltenders here in Buffalo. After watching Hasek as a kid, and growing up in the era of Miller, we must all look forward to what Enroth can bring to the table. As long as he is given ample playing time, he will grow into the role as a starting net-minder for a franchise on the rise! Whether he is thrown into it, or eased in alongside Miller next year (before the trade deadline, which is unlikely), he will succeed in what is expected to be a time for rebuilding and not for an immediate run at the Stanley Cup.
Buffalo lives for hockey, and this is truly bittersweet.