There are a lot of rumors floating around the hockey world about what will happen to Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. The most recent flurry of rumors have the Sabres trading Miller before he reports to training camp for the United States Olympic ice hockey team in February. Miller has the respect of almost every GM in the NHL and his talent is undeniable, but just because he is really talented does not mean that any team wants him.
Most hockey analysts feel that Miller has to be traded for two primary reasons. The first reason is that the Sabres feel that Miller will not sign a new deal with the team before the July free agency deadline, so Buffalo will want to get some kind of return on the significant investment the team has made in Miller over the years. The other reason is because Miller has indicated that he does not want to be part of another Buffalo rebuild.
There is a big problem when it comes to trading Miller before the March 5 trade deadline, and that is the glut of good goaltenders in the NHL. Most teams are happy with their starting goaltenders and have no desire to sink millions of dollars into a goalie that may have four or five years left in his career.
The only two teams that may want to take a look at Miller would be the Minnesota Wild and the New York Islanders, but neither one of those teams are willing to give up the high price that Miller is sure to command.
Without a trading partner, the Sabres risk losing Miller without getting anything for him. But is that really a risk for the Sabres? Miller will want to go to a team where he can be the starter, but if you run down all of the NHL teams right now, there are very few teams that need starting goaltenders. Not only that, but the teams that do need starting goaltenders are no closer to being Stanley Cup contenders than the Sabres.
So what does that mean for Miller? If he is still in Buffalo after the season is over, the Sabres will probably throw a huge contract offer at him. Sabres owner Terry Pegula is famous for his deep pockets and if Pegula feels that he has a shot at retaining his star goalie, then the hockey world can bet that he will throw money at Miller.
If it comes down to a matter of contract size, the Sabres can compete with any team in the league. Buffalo has the cap space and the financial resources to offer Miller the kind of money he would be looking for.
In the end, the Sabres are probably not going to get the kind of return for Miller that they would want in a trade, and Miller would not be able to sign on as the starting goalie for that Stanley Cup contender he has been dreaming of. It sounds a lot like his only real move is to stay right where he is.