Prior to last night’s game between the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes in the NHL’s first game back from the Olympic break, Buffalo’s general manager Tim Murray spoke about the likeliness of trading his 33-year-old goaltender, Ryan Miller, before the March 5 trade deadline.
According to Murray, between two and 10 NHL teams have inquired about Miller and after last night’s performance, where Miller made 36 saves and collected two assists, most of those teams are likely ringing Murray again this morning.
“The route we are looking at is to get value for him. To put him in a position to succeed,” Tim Murray said according to Buffalo TV station WKBW yesterday. “Our goal right now is to pursue a proper trade.”
Miller, who was drafted by Buffalo in 1999, will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and as he approaches the twilight of his career, he has reached the point where doing what's best for him may be leaving the great city of Buffalo where he has been his entire NHL career.
“I know what I think his first choice would be and I don’t think signing here is his first choice at his age with where we are at.”
Season after season the Sabres seem to be in a continuing rebuild and season after season, things seem to just get worse. For Miller, the regression isn’t exactly enticing.
“I’m going to be 34 this year and let’s be realistic, there’s only a handful of guys who’ve played effectively longer into their 30s,” Miller told Buffalo News. “I’d like to be one of those guys but there’s no guarantees.”
Backstopping for a lowly Sabres team, Miller has been the only bright spot on yet another dull season, posting a .923 save percentage and a 2.72 goals-against average. In 40 games this season, he is 15-22-3. The Sabres have won just 16 games total thus far.
“I’m not going to close anything off because maybe as we go through there’s some things that change here but the things that they’re going to have to do are probably going to come during the trade deadline and maybe I’m one of them, and they’re going to come during the draft and free agency.”
However the Sabres rebuild happens, be it free agency or on the draft room floor, Ryan Miller will definitely be a part of it. This time though his contributions won’t come from the crease, but rather by leaving the only NHL locker room he has ever known, with the Sabres getting assets they can use to finally turn a corner within their organization.