At this point, having Ryan Miller between the pipes is your best bet to win hockey games this year, especially with a much bigger defense sitting on the Buffalo Sabres Blue line.
Thomas Vanek is and remains to be the top scorer for the Buffalo Sabres and his offensive talent will be much needed on a team that will be looking for defense as their primary weapon.
The longer the players remain with the team however, means that the team is more likely going to lose them for nothing at the trade deadline.
Moving Ryan Miller during the season becomes easier – if a team loses a goaltender, or a team finds that they are lacking between the pipes and hopes to save their season. If goalies stay healthy – that will make it harder for Darcy Regier to look like a hero and get something for the once Olympic caliber goaltender.
Any deal for Vanek would come at the trade deadline, and go to a team that is looking for offensive presence heading into the post season. If the Buffalo Sabres cannot sign Vanek to an extension before the trade deadline, expect him to go to a contender in on of the Western Conferences.
The key though is money. The Buffalo Sabres have absorbed contracts in trades, to the likes of Adam Pardy, Ales Kotalik, and most likely Jamie McBain – as teams try to get under the reduced salary cap. In order to make the deal with the Minnesota Wild – they kept a portion of the salary for former captain Jason Pominville. Expect any deal for Ryan Miller or Thomas Vanek to come with a lame duck player – or force the Buffalo Sabres to keep paying a portion of their salary – whether the team needs to eliminate salary or not.