The Buffalo Sabres have traded star goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for goalie Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a third-round pick in 2016 in a blockbuster deal leading up to the NHL trade deadline.
The Blues announced the deal via Twitter:
TVA Sports reporter Renaud Lavoie had the news first:
According to SportsCenter, the trade has called for a drastic roster move for the Sabres game against the Sharks:
Miller has been a stalwart between the posts in Buffalo for nearly a decade. The team is in complete rebuilding mode right now, however, which means moving a 33-year-old netminder doesn't come as much of a surprise.
The Sabres currently sport the worst record in the NHL. Given the lack of talent on the roster, they are likely to find themselves in a similar position next season. So trading Miller while his value was still high made sense for both player and team.
Even though rumors have been swirling for months about the goalie's future, Miller hasn't spoken out much about the situation. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News passed along comments from him in early February, and he called it a "business transaction":
That's not really something I want to discuss with you guys. It's a private conversation about a business transaction. Really, that's what it comes down to. I'm waiting to see kind of what the plans are around here. That would kind of give a little more indication.
Despite the poor season the Sabres are enduring, Miller has played very well. His save percentage of .923 is within striking distance of his career high, and he's kept the team in many games that would have otherwise been complete blowouts.
Yet, with the Sabres at least a couple years away from being truly competitive, the front office opted to further the rebuild by moving another valuable veteran.
As always, it's going to take some time to determine whether or not it was a good move for both teams. Since there weren't many contending teams in need of a goalie, it likely limited Buffalo's asking price on the trade market, but Buffalo got a deal it was at least satisfied with in the end.
Moving forward, Miller will once again get a chance to understand what it's like to play behind a more talented and competitive group of players. There should be far fewer nights where he's forced to carry the team's entire hope of winning on his shoulders.
As for the Sabres, brighter days are ahead with a strong farm system and plenty of draft picks over the next couple of years. It's going to take some time to draft and develop all of those prospects, but it should be worth the wait once the plan comes together in a few seasons.
The turnaround just won't happen with the player who was the face of the franchise in recent years as Miller moves on.
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