In professional sports nowadays, it’s very rare that an athlete stays with one team his entire career. Heck, even the “Great One” Wayne Gretzky was traded a few times in his illustrious career.
With the NHL trade deadline right around the corner, there are a few different players that might be on the move. Sabre goalie Ryan Miller is the one high-profile goalie that may be leaving the only team he has ever played for in his 10 seasons.
Miller’s Sabres have struggled mightily this season and currently sit 13th in the Eastern Conference with just 26 points.
For the most part, the 32-year-old Miller has played well in 2013. He may only have nine wins but his goals against average is still under three and he boasts a respectable .909 save percentage on a very poor defensive team.
Over the past few weeks, however, Miller has hinted that he may want out of Buffalo. Several times this season, he has expressed displeasure with the club and the direction that it’s headed.
After losing to the Winnipeg Jets back in mid-February, Miller vented to the media about the Sabre’s struggles:
“They just want you to work hard. They want you to give them something to cheer about. And we’re letting them down,” Miller said, sullenly. “We’re not giving them the caliber of hockey this city deserves. Yeah, we deserve to get booed. From the top down, every player.”
A few weeks later, Miller told Buffalo News’ hockey scribe Bucky Gleason that he wants to play for a contender.
“I want the situation to be that we’re in a position to win a Cup sooner than later,” Miller said. “That’s ideal.”
With the Sabres six points out of the playoffs and still near the bottom of their conference, there is very little chance the team will contend for the Stanley Cup this season. Furthermore, given the unknown state of management and coaching, this Sabres’ franchise may be irrelevant for the next few seasons if changes are not made.
Trading Ryan Miller might be one change the Sabres’ need to make in order to prepare for their future. Miller is in the last year of his contract so it might be wise for Buffalo to move him so they can get something in return.
Here are a few teams that might be a good fit for Miller:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Believe it or not folks, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the thick of things when it comes to the conference playoff race. Following Thursday night’s shootout loss to Miller and the Sabres, the Leafs are in sixth place and just four points behind the fifth place Ottawa Senators.
Since Ed Belfour left Toronto, the team has not had a true number one netminder that could get the team into the postseason. Miller might just be the right guy to do this.
Yes, the team has both James Reimer and Ben Scrivens, and yes, both have done a good job of keeping the team in games this season. However, neither are of Miller’s calibre and do not have the postseason experience that Miller brings.
If the Maple Leafs want to get into the playoffs and have success, Miller might be the answer.
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks may have a former Cup winner between the pipes in Antti Niemi, but he hasn’t gotten the job done for the team in the two seasons he has been with the club.
After getting off to a great start, the Sharks are fighting for their playoff lives and currently find themselves in eighth place in the Western Conference. With that said, the Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars and even the Edmonton Oilers are hot on their “fins”.
This move might also make sense for Miller because his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf, is based in Los Angeles.
Detroit Red Wings
While the Red Wings are currently in contract talks with starting netminder Jimmy Howard, they may want to put that on hold and think about adding Miller.
For Miller, playing in Detroit would be a homecoming of sorts. Miller was born and raised in East Lansing, Mich., and played college hockey for the Michigan State University Spartans.
While the Red Wings are not the Red Wings of old, they’re still a solid team and one that is currently in a playoff spot and looking to move up in the standings. Should Detroit get Miller, it could be a real game changer for the Wings and make them a lot more dangerous come the most important time of the year.
This might be a long shot but it is something that is worth exploring.
The Anaheim Ducks have the second best record in the NHL. They score a lot of goals, they play good defence and they know how to play a physical style of hockey.
The netminding duo of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth has not been bad by any means. In fact, both goaltenders have solid statistics and do more than their fair share to win hockey games for their team.
With that said, acquiring a netminder like Miller might take them to another level come playoff time. You need good, consistent goaltending in the post-season and looking at Miller’s resume, he has been clutch when his team has needed him the most in playoff style hockey.