The moment Ryan Miller was traded to St.Louis Blues, I thought to myself there is no way the Blues sign Ryan Miller long term. Why? Well, if you believe rumors, then Ryan Miller appears to be a drug addict, and his drug is Quack! Yes, rumor has had it for quite some time that Ryan Miller wants to be in California and close to his wife, Noreen DuWulf. But even if you don't believe rumors, if you understand anything about what Ryan Miller has gone through his entire career, then you will know St.Louis is not the place where he'd want to be.
St.Louis has a lot in common with Buffalo. Both are smaller markets, both have never won the Stanley Cup, but to my knowledge, I don't believe St.Louis has ever even made a Stanley Cup Final? Both have some interesting weather, Buffalo is the snow belt, and St.Louis is located in the heart of Tornado alley. St.Louis, just like Buffalo used to be before Terry Pegula, is a budget conscious team with an internal salary cap.
Do you think Ryan Miller wants to sign long term with another team that is budget conscious, and not willing to go all out year in and year out to win? Yes, the Blues went for it this year, but the Blues will not do this every year the way the Red Wings will, or the way other big markets will. After spending the majority of his years playing for a budget conscious team, I think he's packing up and trying to land in a bigger market. I think if it's Anaheim, not only does he sign there, but he even takes less money to do so.
So if you're bummed about the Sabres not getting a late 2014 first from St.Louis look at this way: I'm actually thinking that the St.Louis Blues miss the playoffs next season, but not by much. I predict unless they make a huge splash this offseason, they will make a run for the last Wildcard spot at 8th place next season.
They hate Ryan Miller in St.Louis right now, and they will hate him more when that trade results in a 2015 lottery pick or at best top 15 pick next season going to the Sabres.
As of right now, the St.Louis Blues do not have a goaltender under contract for next season with pro experience, and they aren't going to be any better losing a lot of their depth in Derek Roy, Steve Ott, Brendan Morrow. They traded away one of their best scorers in Chris Stewart, to the Sabres in the Miller deal, and they overpaid for Alex Steen. Plus, what do they do with RFA Patrik Berglund? Do they want him back? But again, the hole in goal is the biggest concern for the Blues. Ask the Edmonton Oilers what it's like to not have a goaltender on your roster? Not that the Blues will the Oilers bad, they have a solid core of skaters, but with a major hole in goal, it can be tough to make the playoffs next season in a very competitive West. I predict Nashville or Pheonix will supplant St.Louis in the West as one of the eight Western playoff teams.
St.Louis does have Jake Allen though. He's been very good in the AHL. This season he's been a top 3 goaltender in the minors, but i'm not banking on a rookie Goaltender to make a team a Stanley Cup contender.
Does St.Louis deal for James Reimer? Do they sign Jonas Hiller? (Maybe the Ducks and Blues trade rights for both players? St.Louis is also a team historically on a budget, so I certainly do not see them making a splash and signing a big time player this offseason.
Can they deal for another goalie? Sure, but what are they giving up exactly to get another one? They traded away a majority of their top assets aside from prospects Ty Rattie, Tommy Vannelli, and Dimitrj Jaskin?
They do have Brian Elliot though? But them again, put yourself in his shoes. The team basically said when they brought in Ryan Miller that you're not good enough, and there's not a bigger way to slap a player in the face than that. Maybe they bring back Halak? Haha, NO!
If things go to plan the Sabres could have not one, not two, but potentially three picks in 2015 in the top 15? I'd say the Sabres made out quite well in the trade so far, Hell, Chris Stewart and the first alone were more than sufficient.
My second part of this post is in defense of Ryan Miller
Ryan Miller has taken a ton of heat for what has happened with the Blues, both from Blues fans, and even Sabre fans who have been coming out the closet to rip Ryan Miller.
So let me get this straight? Ryan Miller has a bad playoff outing for a team that he most likely did not want to play for what so ever in St.Louis, and fans in Buffalo also think he's garbage now? People were outraged that he was traded, and now seem happy that he's gone? This is the same Ryan Miller that stood on his head and carried this team on his back, keeping them in every game. So what if he flamed out in St.Louis? It's obvious especially after the press conference that he lacked the motivation to play for a team he didn't want play for. He'll end up in Anaheim next season for sure.
If Ryan Miller ever wanted to come back to Buffalo, even next year, I would have ZERO issue with that. I said over and over again that the Sabres get ZERO benefit what so ever from Miller winning the cup with another team, but that doesn't mean I have an issue with him here. He is one of the best goaltenders in the league and showed it the past 3 seasons. To the Blues fans who were ripping Ryan Miller, why not rip your GM instead who decided Ryan Miller was going to be this giant upgrade over Halak, when he wasn't? I also wasn't Ryan Miller that was weak, it was the entire team top to bottom that fell apart during the series.
Granted, Ryan Miller does not want to be here though....but if he came to this team, I'd gladly welcome him back. It's one less hole the Sabres would have to worry about.
Overall Ryan Miller fetched Buffalo a ton in return, so i'd say he has given the Sabres quite a bit, both while he was here, and when he was traded. Just imagine if the Blues miss the playoffs narrowly next season, and it's very possible? The Sabres first from St.Louis in 2015 just became a lot more valuable.