In the event that they do eventually trade Ryan Miller this summer, the Buffalo Sabres have now locked up their no. 1 contingency plan, signing backup netminder Jhonas Enroth to a new two-year contract. The young goaltender was set to become a restricted free agent this summer.
There have been questions as to whether or not Enroth could be ready to take over between the pipes in the event that Miller is eventually traded at some point during the offseason. He’s shown flashes of being a potential starter in the future for this team, though his action over the past two seasons has been limited behind Miller.
Despite the fact that Enroth was set to become a restricted free agent, it was hard to envision a scenario where the Sabres were going to let him walk, whether it was with or without an offer sheet. If they trade Miller, he instantly becomes the no. 1 guy, if they don’t, he’s one of the steadier backups in the league.
In 2013, Enroth started only nine games, finishing with a 4-4-1 record. Those nine starts included a 2.60 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage, which includes one shutout. It was an improvement overall on his previous season, though it came in less action than 2011-12.
The deal for Enroth is two years and will pay him $1.25 million in each of those two years. If he becomes the starter, and is able to lock down the spot permanently, this becomes a terrific deal for Buffalo. If not, it’s not a terrible amount to pay a solid backup goaltender. It’ll be interesting to see how the situation in goal shakes out for the Sabres as the summer moves on.