Apr 26, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (30) during the game against the New York Islanders at the First Niagara Center. Sabres beat the Islanders 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Why The Buffalo Sabres Should Trade Ryan Miller To The Florida Panthers


Buffalo Sabres fans, I’m ashamed.

Not at myself, mind you – that would require that I consider something I have done to be wrong, and that just never happens.

No, Sabres fans, I’m ashamed of YOU, since none of you have floated out what is a pretty obvious solution to the Ryan Miller situation, in addition to being the absolute best way to improve the Sabres’ lot in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

(Please note: for the sake of adding dramatic tension to this piece, I am claiming to be ashamed of you.  I am not.  Put the weapon down.  Thank you.)

According to the daily poll I whipped up on Wednesday, you would be okay with the Sabres sending Miller to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Sean “I can’t even pronounce my own last name” Couturier and a possible draft pick/prospect.  Not bad – I’d take that . . .

. . . but what if I could get you one of the top three picks in the upcoming draft, instead?  And still allow the Sabres to keep another top 20 pick, at the same time?  Which would you prefer?  (This is where you answer, “A top three and another top 20 pick.”)

How would I accomplish this?  Why, by trading Ryan Miller and a lesser player to the Florida Panthers, of course.

How could Florida turn down this offer?  Sheer stupidity, of course.  The Panthers had the worst record in the NHL last season.  They had the worst goals-against average in the NHL last season, BY FAR, at 3.54 (Carolina was second at 3.31).  They have three goalies on their roster, and not one of them can be found in the top 50 save percentages in the NHL (Jacob Markstrom sits in the 58th spot with a .901).   Can you think of a team in the NHL who needs a goaltender of Ryan Miller’s caliber MORE than the Florida Panthers?

(Don’t get greedy and say, “The Colorado Avalanche.”  You’d be wrong.)

I know having the second pick in a pretty deep draft makes a team stubborn, but Florida is just a season removed from being a playoff team.  Addressing their goaltending situation should be their top priority, especially if they want to be back in the playoffs next season.  Drafting Seth Jones will not help them in regard, but trading for Ryan Miller very well might, and I don’t think they would ask for much more than Miller, a role player, and one of the Sabres first-round picks – not too steep a price, in my opinion.

I know there’s a very vocal group of people out there who want the Sabres to do whatever it takes to retain Miller after his contract expires next season, but if the poll I ran is any indication of what Buffalo fans want, it would appear many of you realize Miller won’t be back and it’s time to get some value out of him while he’s under contract.  If the Sabres offered Ryan Miller and its 16th pick in the draft to Florida for the second overall pick (and a role player – why not?), Florida would be getting a top-tier goalie and a pretty good pick in a deep draft, while the Sabres would get a crack at either Nathan MacKinnon (highly unlikely), Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Aleksander Barkov, or even Valeri Nichushkin, while simultaneously retaining their 8th pick.  Sound far-fetched?  Maybe.  It could be the Sabres would have to settle for just the 2nd and 16th pick, but even that is better – far better – than what the Sabres currently have right now.

Jonathan Drouin, anyone?

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Ryan Miller

  • James

    Sabres would never trade him to someone who is going to be in the Sabres division next year, that is why the idea hasn’t been come out. I don’t want to play Miller anymore times than I have to in a given season.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Actually, the talk of Buffalo swinging something with Florida HAS been discussed. I normally don’t advocate trading within the division – I argued that when I discussed the Paille trade a bit back – but in this case, each team has a need that the other could fulfill. Sometimes, you trade with people who can help you and live with the results.

      • wolfdoctor

        I didn’t say that talk with Florida HASN’T been discussed. Please re-read my comment.

        • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

          Sorry – my comment was to James. His was the first comment on this post, so I responded to him yesterday! I don’t know why the comments don’t remain in chronological order.

    • wolfdoctor

      The Sabres will be rebuilding for the next 3-4 years. Who cares if we face Miller? 4 years from now Miller will be approaching retirement. It really doesn’t matter who the Sabres trade Miller to.

  • Sabre of Light

    Who writes this stuff? Do you have no knowledge of how this works? Miller has a no movement clause that allows him to give a list of teams 8-10 he will not accept a trade to. That means the panthers islanders blue jackets
    oilers and a plethora of other bad teams and markets would likely be on this list. I wish people would become more familiar with the situation before publishing baseless articles like this.

    • wolfdoctor

      Nobody knows what teams are on the list so any article that speculates on Miller’s trade would be baseless. Right? I’d rather see articles like this than no articles at all.

      • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

        Appreciate the read! Don’t know about getting Jones – he’s not going to make an immediate impact and satisfy the fan base right away – but he certainly would not be a bad pick!

        • wolfdoctor

          Drouin has a much higher bust potential – small, one-year wonder.

          • Matt Nolan

            I’d take barkov or nichushkin idk bout drouin and buffalo doesn’t need seth jones he seems over rated to me as I’ve seen every one of these prospects blow by him

          • wolfdoctor

            If we could trust nichushkin to come over and stay over, I agree, I’d rather have him than Jones. Barkov – I don’t know. I’ve seen his highlights and he seems slow and soft on the puck, sort of like Grigorenko, and we already have one of those.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      It’s called speculation. Do you know which 8 teams he has listed? I appreciate comments, but try to be respectful, please. I’m just throwing out ideas, and yes, I have knowledge of how this works. Florida was in the playoffs just a year ago – they could easily be back next year, so there’s no guarantee Miller won’t go there just because you think he should not.

  • wolfdoctor

    If I had the 2nd pick, I would be picking Seth Jones, not Drouin.

  • Maosucks

    I don’t like the idea of trading Miller. Vanek, yes. But ask yourself this: how many rebuilds has Brodeur been through, and has he ever been shopped? He’s lived through about 3-4 rebuilds, and I would argue he won the Cup because of perserverance by both him and the Devils organization.

    It’s not easy to find championship level goalies (almost like trying to find a franchise QB), and Enroth IMO is too mercurial and I predict him bombing if given the full-time reins.

    We’ve been spoiled with elite goaltending for some time (Miller, Hasek), and I think that fans have forgotten just how tough this is. Miller is elite. Anyone saying otherwise is disregarding the horrible team(s) that have been in front of him for the past 3-4 seasons.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      I agree that Miller is elite, but if they don’t shop him now they get nothing when he walks. I am pretty sure he will walk.

  • Thomas Eric

    Why does it matter if we trade him in the division for a player that will immediately make an impact and also be able to score on miller?

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Agreed – you don’t think the Sabres could have success against Miller? They see him every day!

  • Thomas Eric

    Richard I’m ashamed of you why hasn’t a possible vanek to Edmonton deal been discussed? They wanted him 6 years ago why not now

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding


      I thought about doing a piece on Vanek. Moving Miller would have more dramatic results, though – 8th to 2nd is a little better than 8th to 7th – so I went with the dramatic approach! Plus, I ran out of time the other day.

      My shame is great, sir.

  • Lloyd M. Jr.

    I would trade Miller to Vancouver straight-up for Roberto Luongo; value for value.
    Next: Vanek and Stafford to St. Louis for TJ Oshie and a minor-leaguer or two.

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