I have no shame when it comes to reporting – or repeating – trade rumors, especially this close to the NHL trade deadline, which falls this year on February 27th. One, it’s fun to do. Two, it gets everyone talking. And three, occasionally where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
With that, I give you this week’s rumor that just will not die. In fact, it’s gaining steam as each day passes.
WHY IT WORKS
- Dollar for dollar, it’s a virtually even deal. It leaves either team pretty much in the same spot, salary cap wise, and with the Sabres up against it, that’s an unfortunate necessity when making deals.
- The Sabres offense is, in a word, putrid. There are only four teams with less goals and, while Kane isn’t what you’d call a goal scorer, he is most certainly a premier playmaker (33 assists in 57 games this season, and 233 in 374 games for his career). He gives a guy like Thomas Vanek a legitimate chance to hit 40 goals consistently.
- Word on the street is that Chicago is looking for goaltending. I am hearing that, in order to keep up with teams such as the Detroit Red Wings – and compete for a Stanley Cup – the Hawks feel that they are an elite goalie away from doing just that. While Miller is having a down year, he is still widely considered a top-flight goalie.
- Last year’s starter, Corey Crawford, is having a down year, while back-up (and Andrew Peters nemesis) Ray Emery isn’t exactly the basket I’d put all of my eggs into.
- Chicago can afford to dangle a guy like Kane. They already boast three 20-plus goal scorers and, besides Kane, have two others in double-digits. Their offense wouldn’t suffer much as a result of dealing the former number one overall pick.
- Kane’s age. He is only 23. Really? It seems like he’s been in the league for ten years. Miller is going to be 32, and while the great goaltenders seem to be able to play for a long time, that’s almost ten years difference between the two.
- Kane has won a Cup (2010). Kane, in fact, scored the Cup winning goal for the Hawks that year, while putting up 10 goals and 28 points in 22 playoff games. In fact, Kane has 48 points in 45 playoff games over his career. Sounds like someone I could count on in a big game.
WHY IT DOESN”T WORK
- What happens to the Sabres goalie situation if Miller is dealt? It leaves them with Jhonas Enroth and…well, that’s pretty much it. Much like Chicago and Emery, Enroth is not the guy I’m ready to hand the reigns over to just yet. He started his NHL career on fire, but has since come back down to Earth a bit, which seems to have his coach trusting him less. Much of that has to do with how the team was playing in front of him, though. Now, it’s possible the Sabres ask Chicago for Crawford, also, giving the Sabres another legitimate NHL goalie, while allowing Crawford a chance to reclaim his career. But, as I stated earlier, salary would have to go the other way, too. Perhaps, if Chicago is that hot on Miller, Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier could insist on a guy like Brad Boyes being part of any deal.
- Miller, by standards set by his Vezina winning season, is having a down year, as well. However, he is still regarded around the league as an elite goalie (on a bad team?), and those are the guys you build your team around, aren’t they? It’s a huge risk to trade your franchise puck-stopper, especially with no legitimate plan B in hand. Which brings me to this: (And I’ve mentioned this name before, and will continue to mention his name until (A.) he is in a Sabres uniform, or (B.) Roberto Luongo is dealt.) Cory Schneider. If Regier were able to pry the back-up extraordinaire away from the Vancouver Canucks (word is that the Canucks are looking for a winger), then dealing Miller wouldn’t sting so much, if at all. Schneider is, and has been, ready for full-time duty and, in my eyes, is the best non-starting goalie in the league right now. The kid has “IT”, which is probably why it would take a hell of an offer for Vancouver to consider it. If they would at all.
- Trading for Kane doesn’t solve the Sabres center-ice woes. Kane has been playing mostly center this year, and is having one of his worst seasons, points-wise. He was drafted as a right-einger, and that is his natural position, and where he has had most of his success. If the Sabres are considering dealing Miller, wouldn’t it be better suited to deal him for a legitimate number one pivot?
Whatever your take on it, if any of it’s even true, this would be a blockbuster for either team. This is a trade that has “stones” written all over it (as in, any General Manager willing to make trade of this magnitude needs them). What would you do?
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