Enroth deal, market, setting stage for Miller

The writing appears to be on the wall. Jhonas Enroth’s two-year, $1.25M extension signifies an investment in the young Swede and with Matt Hackett expected to sign an extension of his own soon enough it would appear that the Sabres are prepared to move on without Ryan Miller.

This should surprise exactly no one as the relationship between Miller and the organization (fans and media too) appeared to be slowly fraying last season as the Sabres spiraled to the bottom of the Conference. As the season came to a close most assumed that Miller’s 500th would be his final game as a Sabre.

If both Enroth and Hackett sign it would represent not only the changing of the guard in the Buffalo goal crease, but a culture shift away from a big-money, number one netminder to a 1A, 1B tandem between Hackett and Enroth.

Assuming Hackett gets somewhere in the neighborhood of $925K, Buffalo will have just over $2M invested in their goal crease. Add in the looming trade of Miller and winds up being a savings in the $4M range. For a team with a decent amount of cap space to begin with, that is a huge amount of wiggle room. Continue reading

Trading Ryan Miller: Who will be looking to buy?

This will serve as the second portion to a post that I put up last week on the prospects of trading Ryan Miller

After exploring which teams may or may not make Ryan Miller’s no-trade list, I wanted to take things a step further and determine which teams may serve as suitors for the netminder. By doing so I wanted to determine which teams would have little interest in him as well.

As is well-known, Miller’s no-trade clause allows him to veto a trade to eight different teams. This may end up being a list that significantly handcuffs Darcy Regier but it could also serve as a list that does indeed limit options, but doesn’t prevent Regeir from effectively doing his job.

I decided to include the 11 different teams which Miller may veto a trade to on this list. I wanted to provide a comprehensive collection of the direction I’d assume each NHL club to take if approached about Ryan Miller.

Count the Rangers (Lundqvist) and Penguins (MAF) in a group of teams who would not provide themselves with a significant upgrade in acquiring Miller. Boston (Rask), Nashville (Rinne), Los Angeles (Quick), Vancouver (Schneider), Montreal (Price) and Detroit (Howard) are also on this list. Each of those seven teams have determined their goaltender of the future (and present) and wouldn’t provide their team with any sort of significant upgrade by bringing Miller into the fold.

There is another large group of teams who have a solid netminder and fall in the middle of the road when I consider potential suitors. They probably all lean closer to a no than a yes and here’s why: Continue reading

Trading Miller: What teams make Ryan Miller’s no-trade list?

Trade talk surrounding Ryan Miller has never been hotter as the Sabres begin to enter a rebuild and the potential to gain a handsome return for the former Vezina Winner. Acquiring valuable assets for the goaltender has become a hot topic as many question if he will return after his contract expires next summer.

What stands in the way of dealing Miller is his limited no-trade clause. Miller is able to provide a list of eight teams that he will veto a trade to, thus limiting Darcy Regier’s options. In addition, the impressive glut of quality goaltenders around the league could further limit trade partners for the Sabres.

I assume that Regier would try to avoid a similar situation to what played out with Jarome Iginla – steering the Flames towards a trade with Pittsburgh due to his no-trade clause – and simply obtain Miller’s list of eight prior to pulling the trigger on a deal. Providing the player latitude on where he wants to go will ultimately reduce the available return in a trade, Regier wouldn’t let that happen.

However, which teams might appear on that list may be difficult to determine.I figure there are three basic groupings of teams that you can pick teams from when considering the list of teams Miller wouldn’t accept a trade to. Keeping in mind that he is in more of a “win now” mode with an expiring contract, his specific interests may be geared towards perennial contenders and avoiding teams that are in the process of building.

I categorized teams as locks (teams which he will almost certainly veto) or bubble teams (teams that likely have a red flag or two). Any other team falls onto a list where he’d welcome a trade. Here’s a closer look: Continue reading

It could be time to part ways with Ryan Miller

The clock is ticking for Darcy Regier. Not only is he likely working to save his job, he is working towards the expiration of the contracts of Jason Pominville, Ryan Miller and Thomas Vanek.

Each of the player’s deals expire next summer and before he addresses any sort of negotiation Regier will need to decide which ones will be worth keeping around as the Sabres begin to transition to a new core. Of the three I think Ryan Miller is the one who could most use a change of scenery.

Based on his outbursts of frustration earlier in the year and the reality that his play will provide little support to a team that appears destined to wallow near the bottom of the Eastern Conference this season, it would appear that Miller has grown exasperated in Buffalo.

You can’t really blame him. Playing behind a lackluster team, Miller has managed to keep his save percentage well above .910 and is still sporting a sub-3.00 GAA. He has actually faced nearly 100 more shots than the next closest goalie in the league which is basically the equivalent of three more games worth of shots on goal. Continue reading