Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Can Ryan Miller Be A Vezina Candidate?


Now before you accuse me of being a Ryan Miller “homer” click here and please realize I’m not the first person to throw this idea out here. There are people, who are not Buffalo Sabres fans, talking about Miller and the Vezina; Crazy eh?

Ryan Miller has been one of the very few bright spots on the Buffalo Sabres this season and he’s been good, very good. Night in and night out the Buffalo Sabres can count on Miller to give it his all and be there for the team; his teammates know it, his coach knows it and a lot of fans can see it. Whether he’s just playing for a new contract or not, you can not deny the fact he been on his game this season.

While it may be a bit of a stretch to think of Ryan Miller as a candidate to win the Vezina this season, let’s remember the last time he

played in the Olympics not only did he win the Vezina, he backstopped the Sabres to the playoffs. So Ryan Miller and the Olympics seem to led down positive paths.

So how can a goaltender who has an 11-18-1 record be in Vezina talks? Apparently all they have to do is play for the Buffalo Sabres. Miller has faced the second most shots amongst any NHL goaltender and still maintains a .927 Save Percentage which is good enough for 8th amongst all netmidners. On average Miller is facing 39.5 shots against per game, not bad numbers for a netminder playing behind the worst offencive team in the league- heck they’re not that great at defence either.

So why doesn’t Miller have a better record? Mainly because he plays for the Buffalo Sabres who have a hard time scoring 2 goals a game. The general consensus in the hockey world is that a team has to score at least 3 goals for a chance to win a game. When a team scores fewer and still wins it is generally because the goalie stole the game. The Sabres have scored more than 2 goals in a game just 10 times this season compared to scoring 2 or less in 31 games this season, hard to win without scoring. If you can’t score you can’t win, period.

Miller has been one of the bright spots for the Sabres this season as he looked to rebound from a rocky year and win back his team USA starting job. He’s won back a spot on team USA and now he’s looking to earn the starters job, which should mean even better play as the season continues.

Miller seems to have re-found his game this season which is great news for him, team USA and of course the Buffalo Sabres. But compared to some other netminders like Ben Bishop, Tuukka Rask and Jonathan Bernier who actually have teams in playoff contention, Miller really doesn’t stand much chance in the Vezina race.

Miller definitely deserves a little recognition for playing on the worst team in the NHL, even Brian Burke said it “has to be the worst job in hockey.” He’ll be on the Olympic team and have a chance to challenge for gold, then after that who knows. Miller has been able to stop a lot of rubber at an elite level on a team not even close to being competitive in the NHL, but his chances of winning a Vezina this season are pretty slim.

Do you think Miller would even be nominated as a Vezina candidate when this season wraps up? What are your thoughts on the possibility of Miller challenging for the prestigious Vezina Trophy?

Tags: Featured Popular Ryan Miller Vezina

  • Jes

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG CC are you drunk or something right now? You in Colorado? Got yourself some of that legalized weed? Right now Montoya would be considered for Vezina before Miller. Your totally going homer on this one. This is like me saying Myers for Norris this year.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      1. I wasn’t the first one to suggest the idea- I was just going off the other articles idea
      2. If you read I said I don’t think Miller has a chance at the Vezina
      3. Like it or not Miller has been pretty solid this season

      • Jes

        1. You and the others who have mentioned it are living on dreamland to be blunt that is.

        2. Some of the articles the SabreNoise staff write kind of go both ways. Like in this one you suggest he should be a candidate and then you go on to plainly state he has no chance at candidacy. It’s like someone saying the Maple Laughs are going to get into the playoffs in an article and then in the same article they say you know what they won’t make it.

        3. Miller’s always been solid on his Olympic and contract years. So I’m not surprised he’s playing well this year. He’s usually a different story when those circumstances aren’t in effect.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Was simply saying he’s had a strong season and that his Olympic nomintation will be that validition, I do not believe for a minute he deserves the Vezina

          • Jes

            Yup, he’s definitely been strong this year. However he shouldn’t be mentioned in Vezina talk even if it is to get a point across that he’s been playing well.

            I heard on the trade talk of things that Sabres asking price for Miller is 3 prospects and a 1st rounder? Do you know anything of this CC? I personally think that’s way to much to ask for a UFA to be goalie. I think we’ll be lucky to get 1 prospect and a 1st rounder. Lots of teams that are in the running for Miller might just wait until July 1st to sign the guy. So I hope we lower the asking price for him, because if do not trade him by deadline I believe he will walk as a UFA.

    • JHizzle75

      Hey Jes…I thought you wanted the Sabres to fleece teams in the Miller trade?!?! Maybe you should be pumping his tires a bit to get his stock up… Lol
      On another note: You live in B.C. !!!!!!
      Basically Canada’s weed heaven!!!!
      You can’t talk about Colorado like that my good man ! Lol

      • Jes

        lol it’s not legal here my good man.

        We could’ve fleeced teams earlier in the season now it’s basically what you can get. It’ll be nowhere close to 3 prospects and a 1st.

        • JHizzle75

          No it won’t . I will admit that it’s far-fetched to think Miller will re-sign with Buffalo. I don’t like it, but I will accept it. Just can’t see this team rebuilding fast enough without quality goaltending, and I’m not sold on Enroth yet. IMO his small stature leaves the top corners ripe for the picking, and teams are wise to that. I don’t know what the solution is in net if we lose Miller, and I’m worried about our young D men playing well in front of a goalie that isn’t bailing out any rookie mistakes they might make. Might ruin their confidence.
          I have been to your beautiful province many times and will just say that the MJ is basically legal there…according to people I’ve talked to. Lol

          • Jes

            Naw man it just seems that way because we grow the best weed in the business lol. It’s basically legal everywhere unless you do it in front of a cop no way anyone’s going to punish you for it.

  • lee Munn

    No, i doubt a win… but I would not be surprised on 1 of the 3 nominated… but this will all depend on, 1/ Does he stay this good all season long. 2/ How he does in olympics (i know they say that has nothing to do with NHL, but yes it does!) 3/ If he gets traded & dominates much further on this team & playoffs, Those will be the deciding opportunities for Vezina!!!

    • Jes

      Naw man Olympics has absolutely nothing to do with Vezina trophy. It may seem like it because the goalies who perform well in the Olympics are the ones getting the trophy. But those goalies are the ones who are performing back in the NHL so ya it’s got no merit in the Olympics. I’m sure you’ll see Rask on the finalist list as Slovakia probably won’t even medal at the games.

      I believe the Vezina is a regular season award. So that would omit the playoffs. Unless I’m wrong about that. Only award that involves the playoffs in anyway is the Conn Smyth.

      • lee Munn

        I know what you are saying Jes… but yes if two players both had very good/equal seasons but the other stood out to the WORLD this would help the choice by judges. 4 years ago Miller had 4 less wins, 4 less shoutouts, equal average, & better Sv. % than Brodeur. But he was the best in Olympics & went much further in playoffs… who won??? I am not expecting him to do this, But I believe Vezina is judged by 1/GAMES PLAYED (a goalie only playing 55 + under gms will not win no matter how great average… 2/SAVE % – more viewed than average (look at Theodore ’02.. 11W less than Hasek) 3/AVERAGE 4/WINS 5/GOALIES PLAY-compared to back-up (look at Bishop 22-5-3 / 1.85 / .935 – Lindback 4-8-1 / 3.11 / .882 that alone says WOW) AND LAST (what is not supposed to count, but will in back of everyones mind) is playoffs or world play.

        No I do not see Miller having a chance. I would expect Miller-Lite to show up for a few weeks like all years. But as I said if he carries on this well Bishop/Rask/Price/Harding/Varlamov & Miller (Niemi/Hiller will have to improve Save % +..Mason if team keeps improving) are prob only runners right now

        • Jes

          Yup Rask, Bishop, And Harding are front runners now.

          • Caitlin Campbell

            My vote goes to Bishop and Harding

          • lee Munn

            Those two would have to stay perfect all season.. seeing that it is both their 1st seasons as a Starter.. I would say 1/Rask 2/Bishop 3/Harding One advantage to Bishop for doing so well with back-up Lindback so poor.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      If he continues his strong play post Olympics he will certainly turn some heads

  • Thomas Eric

    He should be be at least considered he has some top numbers on the worst team in the league and he averages 30 plus shots a game

    • Caitlin Campbell

      That was exactly my point- he deserves some respect for his great numbers but I don’t think he could win

      • Thomas Eric

        Who would win?

        • Caitlin Campbell

          That’s a tough one but I could see Harding or Bishop for sure

          • Thomas Eric

            Miller is better than both wat about the kidnapper?

  • ateee

    Probably not. I could see the Olympics raise his stock if he starts. But realistically, that will make him very expensive before it makes him a Vezina winner.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      The Olympics will certainly raise his stock around the league and could help the Sabres trade him for good value