Ryan Miller has always had a strange relationship with Buffalo Sabres’ fans. This year things came to a head. Much of the Sabres short comings this year fall on Millers shoulders. It really doesn’t matter if that’s fair or not, the fact is as the face of a struggling team, Miller was the easy target.
Miller, who is now 32 years old was drafted by the Sabres in 1999 in the 5th round pick (138th overall). Miller, who some say has not lived up to the hype has not always been able to handle being the face of the Sabres. I would say he is too easily frustrated, and he has a history of allowing his emotional issues affect his play. His career numbers are average at best. His GAA is 2.59, and he has a SV% of .915. The Sabres tried to convince their fan base that Miller is in the elite goaltender category and while he is a top goaltender, I would say for the money Miller is at best, slightly above average.
This year the Buffalo Sabres have started to rebuild their team and all indications are that Miller is not going to be the foundation to build around. A news report out of Buffalo has Miller listing his townhouse for sale, a likely sign that the club will try and traded him during the upcoming off -season. The Sabres are deep in goal with Jhonas Enroth, who is eight years younger than Miller and who’s numbers are similar but at a fraction of the price. Enroth has a career GAA of 2.72 and a SV% of .914. In Rochester the Sabres have another two options in David Leggio (GAA 2.56 and a SV% of .924, the Amerks also have Matt Hackett (GAA 2.59 and a SV% of .911). In other word Miller’s services are no longer needed in Buffalo.
If the Sabres are looking to unload the aging goaltender their options may be few and far between, but after looking over some stats I think I may have a few landing sports for Miller.- St. Louis Blues. Starting goaltender Brian Elliott (GAA of 2.34 and a SV% of .905). The Blues were rumored to be in the hunt for Miller at the trade deadline and while St. Louis appears to have good enough goalkeeping, they could still be a fit for Miller.
- Calgary Flames. The Flames had Mikka Kiprusoff (GAA 3.44 and a SV% .882) in net this year, and there are rumors that he will retire after this season. The Sabres and Flames have made trades in the past and a Miller deal is a possibility.
- Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens have had nothing but net minder problems this year. Carey Price who was said to be the next Patrick Roy has not lived up to much. Price (GAA 2.59 and a SV% .905) is part of the net minder carousel in Montreal. Miller, while unlikely to land in Montreal could add some veteran leadership to the young goal tending group.
- Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche have not been able to get much out of their goalies. Starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov has fallen short of being dependable (GAA 3.06 and a SV%.901) The Avalanche do have Jean-Sebastien Giguere who is at the tail end of his career. Adding Miller to the mix would give the Avalanche a much-needed boost between the pipes.
There are a few other teams out there that need Miller’s services, but Buffalo is not one of them. Even with the Silver medal (2010), All-Star game (2007), and Vezina Trophy(2010), Ryan Miller has worn out his welcome in Buffalo and all indications are, he knows it. The Sabres have started their fire sale, and it won’t end until the old guard is replaced.