Consider the Following: The Sabres Will Lose Ryan Miller to Free Agency
Alright everyone, I’m about to go all Bill Nye on you and ask you to CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING (cue: echo). Let’s pause for a moment in recognition of Mr. Nye and his awesome show. Here, watch the theme:
See, wasn’t that a nice throwback? Anyway, here we are in late July talking about Bill Nye and wondering what’s going on with hockey and what in the world I’m getting at. As I said about four sentences ago, I’d like you to CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:
The Buffalo Sabres will lose Ryan Miller to Free Agency.
Before you go all crazy and close this article (not that I mind, I already got your precious page view anyway), stay with me. There are a few things that need to be recognized in order for it to be realized that the Sabres could very easily see Miller walk away on July 1st. Hit the click through to read on.
1.) Miller’s trade value isn’t as high as everyone thinks it is.
I was cruising around the internet today reading various articles about the rankings of NHL starting goalies (see: “doing research”) when I first came upon this thought: Ryan Miller is no longer an elite trade piece. He can likely garner a decent return in a trade but he just isn’t the sparkling trade bait that the Buffalo fan base believes he is.
The NHL editor of Yahoo! Sports Sam McCaig listed Miller at No. 16 on his rundown of the top 30 starting goaltenders in the NHL. Miller being one spot below the median doesn’t exactly put him in prime position to garner huge trade returns. Couple Miller’s decline with the fact that he isn’t getting any younger and it becomes easier to see why teams might be hesitant to fork over any real value for a potential has-been. After all, Sportnet.ca listed Miller in the “Can they still do it?” category of their odd tier-based ranking system.
Yes, Miller still puts up decent numbers and has a slew of awards helping boost his value but don’t forget that Bobrovsky just won the Vezina and even his team was like “Eh… We’ll see man”.
2.) GM Darcy Regier’s History Precedes Him
It’s no secret that Regier isn’t the easiest GM in the league to deal with. Bryan Burke (who is widely respected for his prowess as a GM) once said that he would never deal with Regier. That’s not to say that Regier hasn’t been able to pull off any trades or even pull off good ones, at that. His recent history of stockpiling draft picks for mid-level players has been very good.
That being said, there’s a difference, at least to Regier, in trading Ryan Miller as opposed to say, Jordan Leopold. Miller is viewed as the workhorse that puts this team on his back every year from fall to spring. If Miller is to be traded, at least in the eyes of the organization, it will be for the equivalent of his weight in diamond studded gold. This might be a bit hyperbolic, but I can’t help thinking that this is how the organization is leaning.
The fact that Regier has made it known Miller will be on the roster come the start the season is indicative of how hard it has been for the GM to trade him. It is my assumption that Regier is asking too much for Miller and won’t be able to seal a deal because of this. After all, as we learned earlier, Ryan Miller’s trade value isn’t as high as everyone thinks it is.
Couple this with the fact that Miller hasn’t exactly been eager to stick around Buffalo and that Regier isn’t the greatest deal closer in the world, and one starts getting flashbacks of ’07.
3.) “Alright Mr. Smartypants Fortune Teller, how in the world will he last an entire season without getting traded?”
Well first of all, please call me Andy. My dad was “Mr.” Smartypants Fortune Teller and I’ll tell you, I’m no mister! Wait. That doesn’t sound right.
Anyway, it is quite possible that Miller will be able to last the whole season without getting traded. It might not be a sure-thing, but I think that the possibility is something to be considered. Sure, the Sabres could get down to the wire at the trade deadline and ship off Miller to the Philadelphia Flyers (who will be eager for a goalie when their battle between Ray Emery and Steve Mason SOMEHOW doesn’t pan out) for like Sean Couturier and a bag of pucks. That could happen but I don’t think it will.
Before I let you go back to living your life, consider this: Ryan Miller is in both a contract and Olympic year. Although Jon Quick likely has the Olympic job in the bag, Miller will still be fighting hard to make that roster and a shot at Sochi gold. This means that Miller will most likely be playing above average hockey and will be just dazzling enough to entice more undying love from GMDR. Darcy won’t get the value he wants out of a trade because, as he’ll say at the post-trade deadline press conference, “the market just isn’t good this year” or “at this stage of our franchise, we aren’t willing to give up that much for potentially minimal returns” or “please remember to pass the wireless mic when you’re asking a question”.
So, an entire season passes with Ryan Miller playing above average hockey (perhaps good enough to make him 12th or 13th in the league!) and Darcy Regier doesn’t trade him. Darcy, thinking he’d like to lock down his solid goaltender for a few more seasons, takes him to free agency… and loses. Ryan Miller walks away from the Sabres and into the welcoming arms of Noureen DeWulf and whatever West Coast team needs an aging goaltender to complete their run to the cup.
Thanks for reading and remember folks, you heard it hear first.