Why Ryan Miller To Washington Makes the Most Sense

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.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Ryan Miller

  • Jes

    Washington is trying to get rid of a goalie not bring one back. Grubauer looks like the real deal.

    St. Louis makes more sense. Even Anaheim.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      The Caps are set for goaltenders going forward but the Caps GM has said he wants to win right now and neither goalie gives them a shot at that and frankly Miller does give them a better shot to win now. They also want someone to mentor Holtby and Grubauer isn’t that guy. It’s a short term deal that works perfectly

      • Jes

        Short term? Miller will probably be looking for a 6-8 year deal. That’s not short term in anyway. And the package Washington will have to give up McPhee would be an idiot to acquire him just for playoffs.

        • Caitlin Campbell

          The Sabres need to trade him before the tradedeadline and if McPhee is serious about the playoff run right now he’ll inquire about Miller. The return won’t be much because Miller likely won’t stay but at least the Sabres get rid of Miller

        • Caitlin Campbell

          Also and this might not mean much- McPhee was in Toronto to scout Miller last game instead of joining 28 other GM’s in Calgary for the prospects game. There is definitely some interest from the Caps.

          • Jes

            How do you know he was scouting Miller? He could’ve easily be scouting Kadri, Tallinder, Moulson and Ott.

    • Ben Chalker

      Anaheim would be great but Hiller isn’t going anywhere and the Ducks are made of goalies right now.
      The isles need a goalie. Certainly a better goalie, but one has to think NYI would be on Miller’s no go list.

      • Jes

        I thought Miller said no to all Canadian teams? Doesn’t that axe any other teams on his limited NTC?

        • Caitlin Campbell

          He had 8 teams on the no-no list. 7 of them Canadian teams obviously but there’s 1 other

      • Jes

        Only reason Hiller isn’t signed yet is because I believe the ducks are kicking tires on Miller. Hiller will probably be with them through playoffs but I do believe they’ll make a pitch for Miller.

        • Ben Chalker

          IF he makes it to free agency…
          which is no guarantee.

    • Labbatt

      While Miller makes sense for the caps, i think getting halak and either ratti or tarasenko would be better. Then package halak + x player and second round picks to Winnipeg for Kane. With halak i think we could get additional prospects , players and or picks with either Winnipeg, Calgary, or Edmonton.

      • Jordy Ribecco

        All you Sabres fans expect too much from a Miller trade. History shows goalies never fetch much of a return (Bishop trade, etc). You’d be lucky to get Miller for Tarasenko straight up considering Miller is a UFA and in his 30′s vs. a young future star. Expectations must be lowered by fans and management. (Flames fans with Iginla type situation here, and I’m a Flames fan so it was quite funny seeing what people thought they would get.)

        • Thomas Eric

          Bishop didn’t have a proven track record miller is the best goalie in the nhl this year facing on average 35 shots per game he’s a proven winner that can take a bubble play off team and turn them into a playoff contender

  • Ben Chalker

    As a fan, I’d like to see him go to St Louis. The Blues are insanely good and I’d love to see them take the cup even more so if Miller back stops them.

    • Caitlin Campbell

      That would be great for Miller to win the Cup

      • Thomas Eric

        Miller will be like hasek win cup once he leaves buff

        • Jes


        • Rob Dotzler

          I got misty for Hasek and rooted for the Wings as hard as I would for the Sabres that first year he was there.

    • Rob Dotzler

      I thought St Louis was up against the cap. Wouldn’t St Lou have to make some major personnel changes to even hope to have Miller there? Or would his pay be prorated enough to be under the wire? I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I thought they were right up against it.

  • Casey Nepivoda

    There are some issues with this article regarding the ignorance towards the Capitals. First off, Holtby did upset the Bruins. Second, Neuvirth didn’t lose his job in the playoffs, Vokoun was number 1, Neuvirth back up, they both got hurt, Holtby came in to the playoffs against the Bruins. Alright, now.

    Oates doesn’t seem to be a huge fan of Holtby. Grubauer is going to be the one to be in the NHL all season no matter what happens. The Caps are looking to get rid of either Holtby and Neuvirth and it seems they want Neuvirth gone the most as they have been starting him a couple times the last week or so hoping to up his trade value. I’ve been thinking the Caps could make a deal of either Holtby/Neuvirth, Martin Erat (since he wants gone and Oates doesn’t like him), and a young Dman for Miller and another veteran Dman hopefully.

  • Jeff in Chicago

    Ryan Miller is a lot of things but “mentor” does not seem like one of them.

  • lee Munn

    I agree with many, I would rather him go to St. Louis (both for Miller’s sake at a Cup and that Washington has one of the worst Future Rankings Players)… unless we could get Evgeny Kuznetsov (I-VONNA CUT-HISNUTSOFF) & a draft.. I don’t see much else there.

    • Catbert

      Kuznetsov is an amazing talent. But Chelyabinsk is going to do everything possible to keep their local boy at home. And so far, he seems quite willing to stick around there. Of course they’re not challenging for the cup this year. So who knows where his motivation will be come year end.

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  • davidmuscalo

    Ryan Miller going anywhere but Buffalo makes no sense to me.

  • David Clark

    Once the Caps traded Forsberg to Nashville (for Erat) last year, they blew up the Stafford/Miller deal that was rumored with the Caps at the deadline. Darcy wanted to pair Forsberg with Armia this year. The Sabres would be doing right by Miller if they sent him to the Blues AND right by themselves because the Blues are stacked throughout their organization with talent (especially forwards). I am hoping they pull off the right deal with the Blues… if not St. Louis, my next hope lies with the Islanders if they can get Strome as part of the deal. That all being said… I saw someone post a Miller to Detroit for Howard (expanding the deal to include Grigorenko for a comparable prospect coming back from the Wings… I nominated Mantha). That deal actually makes a ton of sense with Howard being 4 years younger than Miller and more proven than Enroth, while not playing the vast majority of games like Miller does currently (Howard/Enroth split could be 50/32 over the season)… Miller would definitely re-sign with the Wings and if Buffalo could upgrade on Grigorenko (and maybe a draft pick) it could work out great for both sides. Call me a skeptic, but I’m not convinced Enroth can be a true #1 in NHL.

  • Mike Flynn

    I think the best deal for buffalo is miller and a second to the blues for halak Swartz or rattie and a first then flip halak and erhoff to Edmonton for their first or yaks jmo. Blues get an anchor in net oilers get a solid starter and a solid top four man in erhoff sabres get picks and solid prospects not sure if the values their for the oilers but I like it