When the offseason began for the Buffalo Sabres, it was widely assumed that they’d abandon all hope of contending within the next couple of years and ship out their two largest assets, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek. But to this point in the summer, we haven’t heard much on that front.
We’ve seen some pretty big trades take place, and the opportunity for the Sabres to deal one of their two stars was likely there at some point. It could still be there if they really felt like they wanted to move one or both of them, especially considering that their contracts expire after next season.
At this point, it looks more like the Sabres are planning on rolling into the regular season, with at least one, of not both of their stars in the mix. And if what they’ve done to this point in the summer is any indication, they’re putting Ryan Miller in a position to be extremely successful next year.
The Sabres have spent a great deal of time in the past week upgrading their blue line. None of the moves have been terribly significant, but upgrading the defensive depth is something that should benefit Miller. He’s played behind some pretty shoddy defense in the last few years, which has led to a dip in his individual performance.
Henrik Tallinder rejoins the Sabres after being acquired in a trade over the weekend. This is a move that will not only help to solidify the blue line, but could help Tyler Myers get back to the level of play he demonstrated early on in his career. He’s one of four blue liners that the Sabres have added so far this offseason.
Jamie McBain will make a nice change-of-scenery candidate. He has offensive upside from the blue line and can play the physical game. He and Tallinder have a chance to be terrific additions to the Buffalo blue line. The other two, Alexander Sulzer and Drew Bagnall, represent depth additions more than anything, but should still prove beneficial.
What this could amount to is a bounce back campaign of sorts for Ryan Miller. The blue line, while the additions were not significant, looks very much improved heading into the new season. It’s hard to imagine how that wouldn’t benefit Ryan Miller.