Saturday, January 4, 2014

Ryan Miller Won't Be Traded by the Buffalo Sabres - Here's Why

There has been much speculation about if, and more so when, the Buffalo Sabres would trade star netminder Ryan Miller.  And that trade speculation is certainly warranted given Miller's contract status, age, and the Sabres current place in the standings.

But it is certainly not a fait d'accompli that Miller won't be wearing the blue and gold in 2014.  Particularly with the state of affiars involving their management.  Here are two reasons why Ryan Miller won't be traded by the Buffalo Sabres in 2014.

1.  Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan

New Sabres' team president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine was reported to have had exploratory talks with Miller in December of 2013.  As Miller was quoted at NHL.com, regarding the new management team at the time:
"I think they're trying to figure out the guys they want to hang on to and think they can build a core around and see how it goes."
Now, Miller is a competitive guy.  He wants to win as much as anyone in the league.  And it's certainly been tough going in Buffalo of late.  But all is not lost.  Teams have turned things around with the right moves in a very short timeframe.  (Think Los Angeles Kings as recently as a couple of years ago).

Pat LaFontaine also just happens to be not only a fellow U.S. hockey player, but a fellow Michigan guy.  So Miller and the new team president will certainly have some common ground.

Miller also seems like a loyal guy.  If given the chance, and the belief that the Sabres could advance into the playoffs in the not too distant future, I would bet he would want to stay in Buffalo.

And Ted Nolan has already expressed the desire to keep Miller in Buffalo, even if Nolan has the "interim" tag on his title at the current time.
"You look at all the championship teams and it starts from goaltending out. … I prefer you build around him rather than use him as a pawn to try and get something to make you better."

2. Buffalo Sabres' Cap Space

There will be ample room under the salary cap to sign a star goaltender in Buffalo.  The Sabres' projected payroll for 2014-15, without factoring in re-signing UFAs or RFAs for 2014-15, sits at less than half of the projected salary cap total for 2014-15.   So, there's no reason that Buffalo couldn't get into a bidding war with another team for Miller's services.  

If Miller is looking for big bucks, he should be able to find it in Buffalo.  The Sabres by the way, have sat in the top 10 in NHL attendance for the past three seasons.  So revenue should be there.   

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