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JW - The Next Chapter

The Buffalo Sabres now enter the post-Ryan Miller era with no concrete plan on their next franchise goaltender.  While I appreciate just how good Miller is, I’m quite happy that this team will be entering a new phase and likely building an entirely different way.


If you’re looking for reaction to the Ryan Miller trade you can hit up Twitter and find every opinion you’d expect and a few you might not.  I’m going to borrow from a Twitter-friend of mine Scott Michalak. 


Scott uses a phrase that I’m hoping the Sabres use very little over the next ten years.  I don’t want any more “game stealing”.  Ryan Miller and Dominik Hasek as your top two goaltenders in franchise history, is up there with plenty of teams for best tandem ever (Hasek being a clear cut #1 and arguably best of all-time and Miller being an extraordinary goaltender in his own right).


I’m not sure who the goaltender will be next year, or the year after that.  I don’t know who it’ll be that leads the Sabres into their next trip to the Stanley Cup Final.  I do believe quite firmly that it’ll happen once they have a team that’s worthy of the trip.


We’ve seen two of the best between the pipes, and both Miller and Hasek stole their fair share of games over the years.  But if you think about “game stealing”, it generally means that you won while being the inferior team.


I didn’t need Ryan Miller traded away.  I just needed the Sabres to approach it with a different mindset.  You need great goaltending to win a Stanley Cup, but teams that are religiously tied to their guy aren’t generally the best in the league.  The top teams slide their backup goaltender in, and the drop off isn’t too drastic.


The Bruins went from Tim Thomas to Tuukka Rask without any drop off.

The Kings have Jonathan Quick, upstart Martin Jones, and have dealt away both Jonathan Bernier and Ben Scrivens because each looked very good behind that team.

Chicago has two Cups with two goaltenders.


Ryan Miller’s last three playoff exits were to Ray Emery, a young Tukka Rask (as the new Boston #1), and the Bobrovsky-Boucher-what was the other guy’s name, I think it was Leighton but it’s so ridiculous I don’t even want to look it up-monster in Philadelphia.


I’m not against paying a goaltender big money.  I”m not telling you that any old Joe Q Goaltender off the street can win.  I’m simply saying that the Buffalo Sabres will no longer have the Ryan Miller crutch to lean on…and for the first time since 2007, maybe we’ll see a team that plays like that.  


I wish the best of luck to Ryan Miller.  He’s the winner in this deal more than any other.  He traded the Sabres, for the Blues.  


Going forward, the Sabres may struggle to have the superior goaltender on a nightly basis, but that’s ok with me.


I want the superior team.  By his not-so-veiled talk about what’s best for both sides at the deadline, it’s safe to guess that Miller did too.

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