Buffalo Sabres: Is The Ryan Miller Era In Goal Coming To An End?

By Randy Holt
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

This is a question we’ve already heard passed around since the trade deadline, and will continue to hear until we know what the intentions o the Buffalo Sabres are this summer. Have we seen the last of Ryan Miller between the pipes for the organization? It’s looking that way.

No one has mentioned the ‘r’ word in Buffalo quite yet, but the Sabres are unofficially in a rebuild. They’re going to be shopping big names this summer, having already dealt Jason Pominville at the deadline. Miller is the biggest of the big names that they’ll consider moving.

Miller has been talking about his time in Buffalo like it’s at an end. Given the way the last few years have gone, both for Miller and for the organization, it’s not all that surprising. He’s posted a GAA over 2.50 in each of the last three years, along with a save percentage under .920. It’s important to note that no other goaltender in the league was peppered with as many shots as Miller was in 2013.

This year was a particularly large disappointment. Miller’s GAA was all the way up at 2.81, the highest of his career, while his .915 save percentage was his worst since the 2007-08 season. So why would the Sabres try and deal a guy who has seen his stock drop after a couple of down years?

His stock isn’t especially low. He’s shown flashes of that elite level, but the team playing in front of him has been pretty poor the last couple of years. Teams will want to take a chance on him and hope that he can re-discover that high level of play. He’ll turn 33 this summer, but there’s still

The biggest reason trading him makes sense is simply because his contract is up after the year. He’s not going to want to re-sign with a club in a rebuild. He’s going to want to go somewhere that will give him an opportunity to win before his career is over. Get whatever value you can for him now before he walks away next summer.

Should the Sabres move Miller, they already have a contingency plan in place. Jhonas Enroth will likely be brought back, as he’s a restricted free agent, and given an opportunity to succeed as a starter. Don’t forget about Matt Hackett, a goaltender with a lot of potential that was acquired in the Pominville trade.

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