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What Ifs With Ryan Miller

Heading into the 2013-2014 NHL season there’s one question that will definitely be answered by the end of the season, Ryan Miller. He’ll either storm out of the gate and win his team USA Olympic job back, be traded at the deadline or against all odds re-sign to stay in Buffalo. Either way this is going to be a big season for the former franchise netminder. Right now the speculation is Ryan Miller

won’t be a Buffalo Sabre past February and that he needs to be traded as soon as possible. While I don’t disagree, the Buffalo Sabres must make a decision regarding the veteran netminder and a deadline trade is most likely the answer. I’m going to play devils advocate here.

Now that pre-season is kicking off with Jhonas Enroth waiting in the wings and Matt Hackett nearly ready to take the next step, you get a sense that everybody is ready for Ryan Miller to move out-of-town. It’s truly a shame that everyone is ready to write off the former franchise goaltender who has carried this team throughout his career and is only three years removed from his Vezina winning season, but the expectations for him going into this season aren’t great. One get’s the sense that people are waiting for Miller to fall on his face out of the gate and either lose his job to Enroth or be shipped out-of-town.

I like to cause trouble, so let’s flip the script on next season. Miller is still the same goaltender who brought home the Vezina and led Team USA to a Silver medal at the last Olympics and he’s extremely motivated to once again lead team USA at the Olympics. What if Miller and the Buffalo Sabres fly out of the gate to begin the regular season and Miller is one of the best goalies early on? What if the Sabres surprise everyone and are deep in a battle for the playoffs by the tradedeadline? Can the Sabres really rely on Enroth and Hackett to help drive the team into the playoffs? Wouldn’t you much rather have the proven Miller backstopping the Sabres through a playoff run/battle?

If Miller comes out flying next season, proving all his doubters wrong, returning to the ranks of the top NHL netminders and leads this young Sabres team into the playoffs or at least into a playoff race; do the Buffalo Sabres really trade him? If Miller can return to the 2010 version of himself, should the Sabres consider resigning him?

While Miller has fallen from grace the last few seasons, he’s still a solid netminder. He’s had a couple of rough seasons but is still posting an above .915 Save Percentage and has been the victim of some pretty weak defence. With some better defence, a little confidence and a motived goaltender, Miller can easily get back to his 2010 form.

My question to all of you. If Ryan Miller storms out of the gate and has a fantastic season, catapulting the young Sabres into a playoff race, do the Buffalo Sabres still trade him at the deadline or keep him?

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