It appears that the biggest piece in the puzzle of the Buffalo Sabres is ready to fall in the week preceding the National Hockey League trade deadline. Twitter went wild this morning as Darren Millard tweeted that the Buffalo Sabres and the Tampa Bay Lightning are talking - and that Ryan Miller is on the table.
— Daren Millard (@darenmillard) March 28, 2013
Couple things on that tweet – right before the Jerome Iginlia news broke, he tweeted that he was hearing that the trade involved the Boston Bruins. Is his tweet about Ryan Miller just speculation – or have the Buffalo Sabres conceded the 2013 season and are looking to rid themselves of the additional baggage that is Ryan Miller?
He is more than outspoken – he is extrememly expensive and the Buffalo Sabres are looking to make room in the cap space to get better; getting rid of Ryan Miller brings up 6 million dollars that Terry Pegula can sink into another position, or multiple other positions.
Who then can the Buffalo Sabres turn too to hand the torch of starting goaltender off to? There is certainly no one in the organization that can handle the role now without a major learning curve. Jhonas Enroth is a suitable backup for now. David Leggio stood on his head last night and carried the Rochester Americans to a 1-0 shutout of the Syracuse Crunch last night. Leggio would be best served in the backup role as well.
If Darcy Regier thought that Ryan Miller posed a major threat to the Buffalo Sabres – he wouldn’t be talking to a soon to be divisional rival.
The Buffalo Sabres could be targetting another trade to “package” a goaltender back into the fold. They could also be waiting for free agency. Mike Smith, Jimmy Howard, Peter Budaj are all guys who have proven track records in the league – and are up against free agency this year. Will they all make it to July 1 – maybe not, but there are others on the list.
You could also target a guy like Jonathan Bernier – he is a restricted free agent this year, but he could welcome the idea to be a starting goaltender somewhere, given the fact that Jonathan Quick has a ten year deal in place to keep him as the starting goaltender in Los Angeles.
Meet Me In St. Louis
The St. Louis Blues have two goaltenders that have played a pretty good tandem. Brian Elliot and Jaroslav Halak – both have contracts due after next season. Buffalo could wager a trade to get rid of a solid player and maybe some dead weight and bring in a goaltender to give them the spotlight, instead of having to share it.
There are options for the Buffalo Sabres – and they have the pieces to make it happen.