Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Ryan Miller and Steve Ott were in the building preparing to play against the Sharks on Friday, when they were held back by Ted Nolan. Moments later, both players were dealt to the Blues.
"Teddy [Nolan] grabbed both of us about an hour before warmups," Ott said during the first intermission of Friday's 4-2 win over the Sharks. "He told us to sit tight, that something was kind of imminent."
"It was getting to the point where we didn't want it to happen like that," said Tim Murray on the timing of the deal. "But we were at the point of no return, so we couldn't stop it. Unfortunately for the team and the players, it went that long. That wasn't our intention at all, but it's just the kind of way it shakes out."
There was good reason as both Miller and Ott were traded to the St. Louis Blues for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick. The conditional pick could be a first-rounder in 2014 if St. Louis reaches the Western Conference Finals or if Miller re-signs with the blues. The worst that the conditional pick could be is a third-rounder in 2016.
Miller leaves Buffalo having played 540 NHL games with a record 284-186-56. He's the Sabres' all-time leader in wins and has a career goals against is 2.60 and save percentage of .916. He joined Ott at the podium during the first intermission on Friday.
"I've basically grown up here," said an emotional Miller. "A lot of my life, over a third of my life, has been in Upstate New York. So you could really say that this is where I grew up, and this is where I've had a lot of moments in my life. Things are forever going to be tied to this part of the world and I hope to continue that relationship as best I can moving forward."
Miller also thanked the Sabres' organization and both Terry and Kim Pegula. The netminder also had kind words for the fans and the city of Buffalo.
"People have a strong bond with their sports," Miller said. "Football, hockey, lacrosse, baseball. You're not just an athlete here. I've always felt like people have taken the time to talk to me on a personal level. I've always appreciated it. I'm going to miss this part of the world."
As for his favorite memory wearing a Sabres uniform?
"That first year after the lockout," said Miller. "The playoff run. It just kind of caught everybody in town by surprise a little bit, so there was that extra unexpected energy there."
Steve Ott came over from Dallas in the Derek Roy trade and quickly became a fan favorite. The earned his the captaincy this year. Ott played 107 games as a Sabre scoring 18 goals and 26 assists for 44 points.
"I'm very thankful for the opportunity and my short time with the Sabres that I got here," said Ott. "My family, myself, from the fans -- I want to thank them as well. They've been nothing but first class from the moment I put the jersey on here. It felt great, the moment I stepped in here in this organization."
It was obvious how much Ott's now former head coach will miss his captain. "The first guy that I spoke to when I got here was Steve Ott," said Ted Nolan. "I watched him from afar and you see what kind of character he has and all of a sudden, you get to see what kind of man he is. So, it's tough."
The prospect, Carrier, was the Blues second round pick in 2013, 57th overall. He's 6'2, 198 and has 17 goals and 39 assists for 56 points in the QMJHL this season.
"He was a first-round touted kid that missed half the season with an ankle injury," said Murray about Carrier. "He's got size, he's got skill. He's got stuff that we have to help him with."
Stewart was a first round pick for Colorado in 2006. In 377 NHL games for St. Louis and Colorado he has 115 goals and 113 assists for 228 points. That's a 25 goal pace over 82 games. He's scored 28 goals twice in his career and will also mix it up.
Halak's career has taken him to Montreal and St. Louis. He's played 260 NHL games going 139-81-26 with a 2.38 goals against and .917 save percentage.
"[Stewart and Halak] are pieces that will be Buffalo Sabres when they pass their physical," said Murray. "After that, it's the same as everybody else, what I've said. If it makes sense -- it makes sense. I know they can play in the league. If they're Buffalo Sabres, then they're good players here and we're happy with that."
On the whole, Murray seemed pleased with the return for Miller and Ott, referring to the 2015 first-rounder as a "strong pick." He also added that, "the conditional pick of a 2014 first [round pick], obviously conditions that can be met, I won't say easily, but there are reasons they can be met."
With the trade deadline still a few days away, coming up on Wednesday, does Murray have more moves to come?
"I've said all along that I'm just going to be in the wake of the GM that wants one of our players," the Buffalo general manager said. "So, if they feel that we have a missing piece to their puzzle, then we'll be involved."