Friday, February 28, 2014

Ryan Miller, The First Domino To Fall

Happy Friday everyone!  There is a trade to announce.  The Buffalo Sabres, the centerpiece of the trade deadline festivities got the proceedings started with the shot of their... well, it was a big boom, so we'll call it a cannon.  As the Sabres begin the tear down to start the rebuild, both Ryan Miller and Steve Ott have been shipped to the St. Louis Blues for a package that includes Jaroslav Halak and Chris Stewart.

The rumours that swirled around Miller were becoming quite intense and with still five days to go until the trade deadline, the Sabres were able to find a deal that they received a considerable return with.

As much as he is the second-best player in the trade, according to the pool points, Miller's name is the headliner, as the impending unrestricted free agent has been a career-Sabre and had led the team into the playoffs a number of times, playing exceptionally well in his 10+ seasons with the Sabres.  In the 2014 season, Miller finished his time in Buffalo with 15 wins and 2 assists in the pool scoring table, giving him 32 points, which had him ranked 155th in pool scoring, going into Friday night's games.

The Sabres, as the post is being done up, are underway against the San Jose Sharks, where both Miller and Ott were late scratches from the game.

On to Ott, the third captain the Buffalo Sabres have traded in the last 12 months.  In 59 games played for the Sabres this year, he has 9 goals and 11 helpers for 20 points.  He brings some added grit, fearlessness and leadership to the Blues, something they likely thought they were lacking going into this trade deadline.

Going the other way to Buffalo is not a small package, by any means.  Jaroslav Halak has 24 wins, 1 shutout and an assist for 57 points this season with the Blues, which ranks him 24th in pool scoring, a 1st round pick in this season's draft, by those standards.  Halak had a poor showing in the Olympics and dropped a 1-0 loss to the Canucks on Wednesday night in his Olympic return, but his departure opened up the door for Miller to be the undisputed number one in St. Louis.

The Sabres also received gritty, yet streaky forward Chris Stewart, who has 15 goals and 11 assists in 58 games for the Blues, good enough for 217th in the pool scoring list.  Stewart's name has been thrown around in many trade rumour discussions, as a chip the Blues could/would use in a deal that would help improve their team and those rumours came to fruition today.

Also heading to Buffalo, according to the St. Louis Blues' website was 2013 2nd round pick, forward William Carrier, a 2015 1st round pick and a 2016 3rd round pick.  It looks like the Sabres named their price and ended up getting it without much of a struggle.

ImplicationsOnly one of the five players dealt in this deal has any implication on the money race in the pool... well, actually he has implications on two races, as Mike is in the middle of both the main race and the third segment race. Mike has Stewart on his side, as he goes into Friday's action 6th in the standings and 2nd in the segment, only points out of both wins.  Does Stewart improve in Buffalo?  It doesn't seem very likely, especially since the tear down is only just beginning and expectations are going to be low.  I wouldn't say that an improvement is impossible, just doesn't seem likely.  With the tear down, however, Stewart might find himself lining up with a Cody Hodgson or Drew Stafford or Zemgus Girgensons, by default, which may help his cause in the end.

I think the Buffalo Sabres win this deal and come away like bandits, especially in the prospect and pick department.  Halak goes UFA this Summer, with a re-signing possibility, while Stewart has another year on his deal and technically, a 1st, 2nd & 3rd round pick on top of that looks fantastic for a goalie, who sometimes looks like he's out of steam and a well-traveled veteran, both possible rentals in St. Louis, seems like a heavily weighted win.

Granted, if the Blues are able to translate the acquisition of Miller and Ott into a Stanley Cup, there is no question that the Sabres didn't come away as the winners we thought they were.

Do I think Miller and Ott are enough for the Blues?  Not entirely today.  The Blues will ride Miller and I'm not certain that he should be the horse that we should be betting on right now.

No comments: