While the Ryan Miller saga in Buffalo has seemingly ended, the consequences of trading Miller to the St. Louis Blues continue to be a factor.
The Blues announced on Monday that goaltender Brian Elliott had re-signed with the team, locking his place in the Gateway City for the next three years.
This leaves just one goaltending spot open in St. Louis, and it won’t belong to Ryan Miller.
Instead, Chicago Wolves standout Jake Allen has earned himself a spot in the NHL.
This was first announced weeks ago, when St. Louis personnel said that Allen’s play in the American Hockey League had set him up for a spot in St. Louis next season. Allen was named top goaltender of the AHL and led the Wolves to the second round of the playoffs, when they were swept by the Toronto Marlies.
That was confirmed Monday, locking up the goaltending for next season and leaving Ryan Miller to become an unrestricted free agent when July rolls around.
Miller played 19 regular season games with the Blues, going 10-8-1 in that stretch. He also appeared in six playoff games as the Blues eventually were eliminated by the Chicago Blackhawks. Miller had a 2.70 GAA and .897 save percentage in the playoffs.
IMPACT ON THE SABRES
So what does this mean for the Sabres?
First and foremost, it means that the Sabres won’t receive St. Louis’ 2014 first-round pick in the NHL Draft. That would have potentially left the Sabres with three first rounders – their own, plus St. Louis’ and the New York Islanders’. Instead, St. Louis retains the rights to their first-round pick.
In addition, it means the Sabres gets to keep their second- and third-round selections in this year’s draft, at least for the time being. Those would have been shipped out to St. Louis if the Blues had re-signed Miller or made the Western Conference Final.
There’s still a little bit of ambiguity going forward with the situation.
Although Miller will become a free agent in July, the Blues retain his rights until then.
If they decide to trade those rights prior to their first pick at the draft, St. Louis will send their first-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2016 to the Sabres. In return, they’d get the Sabres second- and third-round picks in this year’s draft.
If the Blues trade Miller’s rights after the draft, the Sabres will receive a 2016 second-round pick.
Even though it’s already been 81 days since the Buffalo Sabres traded Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues, the trade still has some impact, and things won’t be wrapped up until either Miller’s rights are traded or he becomes an unrestricted free agent when July rolls around….. only time will tell.
And though it’s a slim chance, could the Sabres possibly sign Miller if he does become a free agent, bringing him back to Buffalo?
I can’t see it happening – his asking price is rumored to be fairly steep, and I think it’s time we move on as an organization and focus on developing more of the goaltenders we saw in the last month or so of the regular season. What do you think?