On June 26th, 1999, The Buffalo Sabres selected Ryan Miller in the fifth round of the NHL Entry Draft, 138th overall. The Sabres selected six players before they drafted Miller, and they picked up another five players after him. But of those twelve young men that the Sabres drafted, none would impact their franchise the way Ryan Miller did. Since 2002, Miller has been playing for the Sabres, solidifying himself as their starting goalie in 2006. But after riding high with two Conference Final appearances in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007, things have slowly gone downhill for the Sabres, though Miller seems to have taken no notice, playing phenomenally for them. This year, Buffalo is the worst team in the league, with a record of 18-34-8. Their bad play prompted them to Trade team captain Thomas Vanek early in the season, and with things not improving, the Sabres have now dealt their best player, Ryan Miller.
Miller has been the subject of trade rumors for years now, but with his contract expiring at the end of this season, Sabres GM Tim Murray has now traded the 33 year old to the St. Louis Blues along with team captain Steve Ott. Miller and Ott were two of the teams last trading chips, and so they had to get a big return that would make them better in the immediate future, as well as further down the road. In exchange for the former Vezina winning goalie, Buffalo got Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 2015 first round pick and a 2016 third round pick. In this deal, St. Louis got two veteran forces who have pushed them over the edge and into Stanley Cup contention. Buffalo gets a 28 year old goalie who has proved himself as a viable backstop, as well as a young power forward who has seen some success. Carrier and the two picks are what gives Buffalo the edge in this trade, as they now have three assets to help them in the future.
Giving up the face of your franchise is never an easy choice to make, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Buffalo Sabres entered desperation mode a long time ago.