The St. Louis Blues have been legitimate Stanley Cup contenders since early in this NHL season. However, as the March 5 trade deadline neared, the team made a move that positioned them as the team to beat in the Western Conference.
The Blues sent Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier and two draft picks to the Buffalo Sabres for goalie Ryan Miller. One of the picks was St. Louis’ 2015 first rounder, but in the end the Blues did everything they could to bring in the best goalie on the market. Miller has responded about as well as you could ask, going 8-2-1 since making the trip to St. Louis.
Obviously, with their new goalie becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer, the Blues are going to try anything they can to lock him up long-term. However, rumor has it that, despite the fact St. Louis is built to win, Miller might have a specific team in mind when it comes to where he’d want to sign in July.
The Blues have indeed made their intentions clear, and they’d love to resign him as soon as possible. According to TSN, though, Miller might postpone any and all free agency talks until this summer to see if there is any interest from the Anaheim Ducks.
Miller has had an interest in getting as close to California as possible for some time now. His wife, actress Noureen DeWulf, works in Los Angeles, so Miller would like to eliminate the distance between them. The move from Buffalo to St. Louis was a start, but if an opportunity is available with the Ducks, it just might be the most tempting choice for the American goalie.
Making things even more interesting is the fact that Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller’s contract is up this summer as well. For comparison’s sake, Hiller is making $4.5 million this year, with Miller making $5 million. Miller will likely be the more expensive option, so Anaheim has a lot to ponder as well.
Miller’s attempts to try and live closer to his family have been made public for some time now. It’s one of the main reasons he rejected a trade to the Edmonton Oilers earlier this season. The Blues know it just as much as anyone else, only now they know the Ducks could be in position to fulfill this desire regardless of how well the playoffs go.
At this point, going on a lengthy postseason run may be the only option St. Louis has when it comes to wooing Miller away from the idea of heading farther west. Obviously, this doesn’t sound like a difficult task for a team contending for the President’s Trophy. Still, the Blues have struggled to make it out of the first round as of late, so it’ll hardly be a cakewalk.
If St. Louis can present an offer with the best combination of dollar signs and a promising future, it may be enough to get Miller to sign. However, if the rumors are true, he won’t take a look at any contracts until July, and not until he hears from Anaheim first.