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Looking back at Ryan Miller’s career

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Former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller announced he will retire after this 2020-21 season.

Buffalo Sabres v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Five Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Former Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, the winningest American-born goalie in NHL history, has announced his retirement following this 2020-21 season with the Anaheim Ducks.

  • Miller played for 18 seasons in the NHL
  • Four different teams - (Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks)
  • Most wins by an American-born goalie- 390
  • Most wins in Sabres season history- 41
  • Most wins in Sabres franchise history- 284
  • 2010 Vezina Trophy winner
  • Awarded MVP at the 2010 Olympics
  • Started in the first-ever NHL outdoor game
  • Won the Hobey Baker Award in 2001

His resume clearly speaks for itself.

Most of his career was spent in Buffalo - he was a Sabre for 11 seasons and lead the team to the playoffs four times. Miller was drafted by Buffalo in the 5th round, 138th overall in 1999.

He spent the next three seasons at Michigan State, leading the Spartans to the Frozen Four and winning the Hobey Baker Award for best player in collegiate hockey in his second year.

Miller led the Sabres to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 posting a .911 and .906 save percentage, respectively.

A couple of years later he led the team to another back-to-back playoff appearances in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.

The 2010-11 season was when “Miller Time” took the national stage. That year, the Sabres goalie set the Sabres franchise record of wins in a single season with 41, was second in the league in goals-against average (2.22), and in save percentage (.929). He represented Team USA at the 2010 Olympics where he was named MVP of the tournament and earned silver.

Ryan Miller currently has 390 wins, enough to become the winningest American-born goalie in NHL history. Miller also set the Sabres franchise win record with 284, the next closest is Dominic Hasek with 234 wins.

After nearly 11 seasons of leading the Sabres and being the face of Buffalo, Miller was traded to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 28, 2014, along with Steve Ott in exchange for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a third-round pick in 2016.

Miller was in St. Louis for only a season before he became an unrestricted free agent and signed a three-year deal in Vancouver. After three years with the Canucks, Miller signed a two-year contract with the Ducks but agreed to another season in 2019.

Personal Note: Flashback To My Sabres Glory Days

Seeing Ryan Miller announce his retirement made me think about the “glory days” of my fanhood with the Sabres and his critical role in it. Miller impacted the entire city of Buffalo as well as the surrounding areas while playing here. He made every young hockey fan want to be a goalie.

He was fun to watch, made unbelievable saves, led the Sabres to the playoffs multiple times, and in my opinion one of the greatest shootout goalies.

Ryan Miller was my Dominik Hasek, I was six years old when he led the Sabres to the playoffs for the first time. I was growing up when Miller was a superstar and the Sabres were a playoff-caliber team. I was lucky to be at a home playoff game against Boston in 2010.

Anytime someone made a save during a street hockey game, it was customary to scream “Miller with a miraculous save!!”, trying our best to sound like Rick Jeanneret.

Everyone was invested in the Sabres, and the arena would be packed before warmups. The seats next to the Sabres tunnel and behind their net would fill up almost instantly. I would make my dad arrive at the games so early that the gates to the seats were still locked. I didn’t want to take any chance of not getting a spot next to their tunnel and missing Miller stare out onto the ice for his pregame ritual.

Buffalo Sabres v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Ryan Miller inspired a whole city of hockey goalies and I hope Buffalo signs him to a one-day contract so he can also retire a Sabre. It would be a nice way to end such a dominant, meaningful career.