Ryan Miller is on a new team. The drama, rumors and speculation out of Buffalo surrounding the goaltender's future are finally over. With the dust still settling around the deal and fans from both sides are still wrapping their heads around the future for both clubs, we're left asking: Which team did this trade help more?
I don't know if this was a necessary trade for the Blues, but Miller can't hurt any. Steve Ott? No. He's redundant, but he's another one of Doug Armstrong and Ken Hitchcock's guys from their Dallas days, so they're collecting all of the old guys that they're familiar with.
The Blues already have Brenden Morrow, though. They didn't need Ott.
For the Sabres, this was great – they can flip Halak (reportedly to Minnesota if things go according to plan) and they can flip Stewart to Ottawa or wherever, get some fairly decent picks, and do one of two things: use them and rebuild or package for another high first rounder and have possibly three decent selections in this year's draft.
Rebuilds are tough, but if Buffalo does it correctly they could have a solid future in a year or two.
I think this trade stunned the west. How other teams react will be the most interesting part.
For the Blues this is the move a cup team needs to make. Ryan Miller can get the Blues to the promised land. Also, Steve Ott is a guy you need in the playoffs to grind out. Just love the move for the Blues.
This move didn't help Buffalo at all. In fact, it looked like it destroyed their organization with Lafontaine quiting. That is never a good thing. Personally, I thought Buffalo didn't get enough for Miller, and rushed the move.
I think the Blues had every right to take a shot with what they thought was a more formidable option than their current duo (and we're not counting Jake Allen, who it appears has a future). I don't know that they gave up too much, considering Ott — while hardly Most Popular in his class, or any class — will likely flourish in the role the Blues will want him to play.
As for the Sabres, I think Tim Murray knows that there's two ways his attempt to stockpile early round picks and prospect can go. There's the positive rebuild from the bottom — a la Pittsburgh or Chicago from their dead eras — or there's Edmonton. He has to find a way to hit the latter and not the former.
Obviously, it's way too early to declare a winner. Considering Buffalo may send Jaroslav Halak or Chris Stewart to other teams, it's not clear what the final return on Miller even is. It's also surprising this deal even happened. This trade was rumored just about everywhere, from sports websites to those discussing online roulette such as thewiredblog
. You couldn't escape the Miller to St. Louis connection. Usually when there's this much smoke and this many connections, the supposed deal never comes to fruition. I digress.
With all of the above taken into consideration, I'd say Buffalo did just as good, or better, than most of us expected. No return would ever be "perfect" but the team at least got the ball rolling on their rebuild. As Steve mentions above, the real key is what the Sabres do with their new assets. They need to figure out how to turn the parts they received in the Miller trade into winning assets.
I'd give Buffalo the edge here as the Blues' upgrade in net wasn't as important as Buffalo's need to turn the page and start building for the future.