The Buffalo Sabres will kick off their 2013-2014 season in just over 24 hours playing in Hockey Town. With the 23 man roster all set and the captains and assistants just being named, all questions are answered heading into the season opener. The Sabres will have one of the youngest rosters in the NHL, but will be led by proven and respected veterans. One of these veterans is goaltender Ryan Miller. Miller has been a superb goalie with the Sabres throughout his career, and has been the for sure number one for the better part of the last decade. Miller will have lots of family and friends in the stands, as he is from East Lansing, Michigan which is not too far from Detroit. Miller will most likely get the nod in goal for the Sabres, but I will tell you why Ron Rolston has to roll with Jhonas Enroth against Detroit.
Ryan Miller is coming off a rather disappointing season, finishing with a record of 17-17-5, posting a .915 save percentage and 2.81 goals against average. What’s really concerning with Miller is his tumultuous play against Detroit throughout his career. In 10 starts versus the Red Wings, Miller has gone a dismal 2-6-2, with a horrid 3.69 GAA and an 8.91 SV%. Numbers like these from your number one goalie will not win you games, especially against such a dominant team like the Wings. Maybe it’s the pressure that gets to Miller when he starts in front of his family and friends, and also facing his brother Drew Miller. If the Sabres want to start their season off with a win, they must get a dominating performance from Miller, or go the other route and start Jhonas Enroth.
Although Enroth has only played 95 minutes against Detroit, his numbers are substantially better than Millers. Enroth has a 0-1 record versus Detroit, but has an encouraging 1.89 GAA and a .936 SV%. Just looking at the numbers is enough to show you why Jhonas Enroth should be the starter for Wednesday night’s game. The Sabres are most likely going to trade Miller before the trade deadline or let him go via UFA, so they must decide by the end of the season if Jhonas Enroth is the goalie for the future. Enroth is only 25 years of age, and is just hitting the prime of his career so why not let him start and see what he can do.
As I have stressed all throughout the offseason, the Sabres are in the midst of a rebuild. Darcy Regier has done a great job thus far drafting and acquiring young talent that will hopefully turn the Sabres into a contender down the road. With Ron Rolston ready for his first full season as a head coach in the NHL, why not shock the hockey world and start Jhonas Enroth? The Sabres have nothing to lose, and based on previous numbers, it would make total sense for the Sabres to roll the dice and start Enroth in the season opener.