Originally written on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 11/12/14

ATLANTA - JANUARY 14: Goaltender Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres against the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena on January 14, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


The Buffalo Sabres are struggling, and there have been recent rumors that owner Terry Pegula is looking to shake things up. Goaltender Ryan Miller’s name has been thrown into those rumors due to his below-average performance this season. But should the Sabres deal Miller? Carolyn and I debate…

No, trading a franchise netminder won’t help Buffalo
By Ryan Porth

The Sabres may be struggling and underachieving, and Miller may be having the worst season of his career, but that’s no reason to trade away their franchise goalie.

There is an array of reasons why the Sabres are on outside of the Eastern Conference’s top eight right now. Rarely have they been able to play with a full lineup, as the injury bug has constantly bit them this year. The defense in front of Miller (and backup Jhonas Enroth) has been wildly inconsistent despite the off-season upgrades.

Ever since Miller went down with a concussion in Boston on Nov. 12, the Sabres have not won two games in a row. At the time they were 10-5-0; ever since they are 6-10-3 – with both Miller and Enroth seeing equal playing time in that span.

In short, the Sabres’ struggles are not Miller’s fault.

Trade rumors initially surfaced when Miller, whose contract runs through 2014 with a limited no-trade clause, was sidelined with a concussion in November. Here is how the 31-year-old netminder responded:

“I’ve never made a comment about my status with the team. My comment about my status with the team now is I’m proud of being a Sabre. I’m excited for what we can accomplish moving forward, and I want to be a part of it. There’s no reason for me to want to leave the situation. We have great new ownership who’s excited to put a winner on the ice, and I want to be a part of it.”

Miller is 8-8-2 with a 3.11 goals-against average; his numbers are suspiciously awful at home (3.58 GAA, .890 save percentage), where the Sabres as a team cannot buy a win. Miller is two years removed from winning the Vezina Trophy and carrying Team USA to the Olympic gold medal game in Vancouver.

Is he an elite goaltender? Not right now, obviously, but he is when he’s at the top of his game. And maybe he needs a change of scenery to get back to that level.

But is it in the Sabres’ best interest to trade their best player and face of the franchise? Absolutely not. There are other problems that GM Darcy Regier and company need to focus on if they wish to make the playoffs. The team has been awful on home ice, the defense is inconsistent and injuries have been costly.

The Sabres may need a shake-up of some sort, but trading Miller wouldn’t help.
---

Yes, the time has come to move on
By Carolyn Christians

As an organization, the Buffalo Sabres are ready to leave Ryan Miller behind. And at 31, Miller sure sounds these days like a fresh start would be of great benefit his career as well.

The sea-change in western New York hockey that is the Terry Pegula era has re-defined how the Buffalo team is built and what the expectations are, within the team, from the fanbase, among the local press, and more broadly, around the League. No longer relying on a franchise goalie as the backbone to a collection of budget-friendly leftovers and young prospects, these new Sabres need first and foremost to define a new culture. With the ability to bid for free agent heavy-weights, they also need salary cap relief.

Miller’s contract runs two and a half more years, at a cap hit of $6.25 million. And the heir apparent, Jhonas Enroth, 23, has shown he is ready to go. In fact, the tandem has been more 1A and 1B since Miller suffered an injury down the stretch last spring and Enroth showed he was a good as hoped.

Now, looking at their season stats side-by-side, Enroth continues to hold his own, even when Miller was again sidelined with injury last month. It is clear that Miller has become expendable.

GOALIEGPIGSMINGAAWLOTSOSAGASV% RYAN MILLER191910413.118821560540.904 JHONAS ENROTH18159702.548711497410.918
For whatever reasons, Miller has not seemed at peace with the new regime in Buffalo this season. The aftermath of the Nov. 12 game in which the Bruins' Milan Lucic ran over Miller with no consequence (other than a concussion to the goaltender) was the catalyst that put the lack of cohesiveness in the Sabres room in the spotlight across the puckwebz. I haven’t anything to suggest those perceptions were unfounded.

This should and can be a win/win. There are teams with near-term expectations but aging starters, like Tampa Bay or New Jersey, or even the Capitals (Vokoun’s contract was just one year – you thinking he’s earned a new one yet?) searching for a proven answer in goal next season. The Bolts will even be joining the same Snowbird Diviference as Miller’s familiar Northeast Division rivals starting next fall.

It’s hard to imagine that Sabres GM Darcy Regier wouldn’t find a taker for someone with a resume as solid as Miller’s, littered with accolades like “Vezina” and “Olympic MVP.” The return on the trade would be enticing.

It’s time for the Sabres to move beyond their prior history as also-rans and build a new identity. Moving Miller would make it clear they want that clean slate. For the embattled Miller, he’d get a chance to show a new team and their fans what a very special goaltender he can be.

Photo credit: Getty Images

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Rivers denies report of problems with CP3 and Jordan

Orlando Magic hope Skiles can right sinking ship

Falcons waive Shembo after report of animal cruelty charges

Report: Tom Brady’s suspension appeal hearing set for June 23

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Scout: A-Rod 'looks like he doesn't give a (expletive)'

Belichick mum on Deflategate in first remarks since discipline

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Bucs veterans missing Jameis while he's at rookie symposium

Bulls GM: No teams asked to talk with Tom Thibodeau

Aaron Rodgers could take on more play-calling duties

WATCH: Josh Hamilton hits first two homers of the season

Did Andrew Bogut take a shot at Mark Jackson?

$70 million Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the NBA title, the parade will be for Oakland

SEC no longer allows transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Klay Thompson officially diagnosed with concussion

Snoop Dogg hooks Texas A&M up with adidas cleats

WATCH: Stephen Curry rides a mini-horse

Metta World Peace gets ejected after five fouls in one minute

On satellite camps and the SEC crying over its self-protections

Four NFL quarterbacks set to take a step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

$70M Reebok deal is bad for UFC fighters

If the Warriors win the title, the parade will be for Oakland

Peterson is wrong (sorta): NFL players have great power

Dwight Howard suspended for first game of 2015-16 season

Four QBs set to take step back in 2015

Spelling Bee co-champ wears LeBron jersey under shirt

Top 10 stories from 2015 NBA Playoffs

Rangers-Lightning Game 7 preview

The can't-miss Prince Fielder

Chip Kelly: Tebow is a quarterback

For LeBron, it's about more than the ring

Is Sam Bradford not close to full health?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.