Ryan Miller has only played for one team during his career in the NHL, but his 500th career game may very well be his last in a Buffalo Sabres jersey.
John Vogl of the Buffalo News reported yesterday that Ryan Miller’s Buffalo townhouse went up for sale. His future in Buffalo is still unclear, but this may mark the end of an era in Buffalo that has seen one of the best goaltenders in the last decade of hockey.
There has been no shortage of rumors circulating the past few years regarding Ryan Miller’s status in Buffalo, but as much as it pains me to admit, I believe it’s finally his time to part ways with this team. It’s a gut wrenching feeling, there’s no way around it. I’ve had the blue and gold number 30 jersey hanging in my closet for years, but it may be time to hang it up for good.
For a team that is entering a “re-building” phase that will not be a major postseason contender for at least a few years, there’s no reason to keep a player like Ryan Miller around. Being one of the highest paid goalies in the league and the second highest paid player on the Buffalo Sabres, his departure from the team will free up a substantial amount of cap room that will allow the Sabres to make some serious off-season moves. Miller is still playing great hockey and will definitely add tremendous value to another team that can better utilize his skills as a top tier goaltender. He’s entering the last year of his contract with Buffalo, and if the right offer comes along I think the Sabres will jump all over it.
No doubt he’s become a household name here in Western New York, a real fan favorite, but amidst a season that saw the firing of long-term head coach Lindy Ruff, and the dishing of the team’s captain for players of the future, no one is safe in Buffalo anymore. As Jhonas Enroth continues to shine between the pipes for the Sabres, he might be assuming the role of Buffalo’s number one in net as early as next season.
“I don’t know which way it’s going to go, so I’m not going to talk like I’m gone,” Miller said. “I think I’ve got a lot more hockey in me, so being able to just kind of reflect and enjoy a moment is nice, but it’s going to be another hockey game and I have to prepare and compete. I’m just trying to enjoy that part of it. That’s what I like to do. That’s what I know to do.”
If this really is his last game in Buffalo, Ryan Miller has earned the love and respect of this city throughout his time here. It’s a proud feeling being able to watch your team’s goaltender start for team USA in the Olympics. Not many hockey fans can say that. I’m excited to see what he could do with a real team in front of him, especially a solid defensive core. He’s a Stanley Cup caliber goalie, and I think he’s got a few championship runs in him before his career is over. We all just wish it could of been with Buffalo.