The Buffalo Sabres are in a bit of a bind when it comes to upcoming free agent Ryan Miller. They have three options regarding their free agent goaltender; they can trade him and hope for a solid return for the rebuild, they can re-sign him to lead the team through the rebuild or they can let their former franchise goaltender walk for nothing when the season ends. The trade market for a goaltender like Miller, who doesn’t want to go to Canada, has been pretty limited this season but the Sabres answer may lay in Washington.
So far Ryan Miller has shown little interest in re-signing with the club and is instead leaning towards testing out free agency, that is great for Mr. Miller, but bad for the Buffalo Sabres. Even if the return is slim it would be best for the Sabres to get something for Ryan Miller.
The trade market has been slim as every team Ryan Miller would like to join already has a starting goaltender who is holding down the crease, and a couple of the teams even has solid back-ups. The St. Louis Blues are believed to be one of the best destinations for Miller, but it may be time to add the Washington Capitals to that list.
The Capitals are in an interesting predicament themselves when it comes to goaltending. They have the offencive talent and for the most part solid enough defence to get them into the playoffs but they don’t have anyone between the pipes to get the job done.
Braden Holtby burst onto the scenes during the 2011-2012 playoffs helping the Capitals nearly upset the Boston Bruins. Holtby was then given the Capitals starting job, but his play has tailed off as of late.
Holtby’s “back-up” Michal Neuvirth hasn’t been able to win back the crease since losing his job in the playoffs and has reportedly asked for a trade out of Washington. The Capitals have obliged and are shopping Neuvirth around looking for anything in return.
The Capitals would like Holtby to be their goalie of the future, but he needs to be groomed and mentored by a veteran and that’s where Ryan Miller and the equation enters. Ship Miller to Washington, he’ll own the crease while he backstops the Capitals into the playoffs and mentors Holtby before either re-signing or leaving in free agency.
It’s almost the perfect deal for both parties. The Sabres get rid of Ryan Miller and net a return while the Capitals get a proven netminder for the remainder of the season to help them in the postseason and to mentor Holtby. Very few teams are looking for a goaltender right now, but the Capitals could be in the market for Miller.
The Capitals want to win now, and Miller may be their best quick fix for that problem, not to mention the Capitals have a fair amount of prospects they could move in the deal that would aid the Sabres in their rebuild as they move toward the future.
The Washington Capitals want a goaltender to mentor Braden Holtby and help them in the postseason, the Buffalo Sabres have a goaltender who could likely do just that.