An Open Letter To Tim Murray (Don’t Trade Ryan Miller)
Dear Mr. Murray, The Buffalo Sabres are a very good team despite this season and their state of rebuilding for the last few years. Some changes have been made in the short and long term vision for the franchise. I equate the beginning of these changes with the departure of Daniel Briere and Chris Drury.
Since their absences the Sabres have struggled to enter the playoffs or when there they have failed to advance beyond the quarterfinals as the team coped without what I viewed as their heart and soul. New players emerged as stars (Pominville) and fan favorites (Vanek) only to be traded as part of a ‘rebuild’. Yet through all the movements goaltending was never an issue. Even this season goaltending is not an issue. Ryan Miller should remain the future goaltender of the Buffalo Sabres.
Miller’s past really does speak for itself. He’s been a stalwarth in net since he first arrived from the Rochester Americans. His whole career has been with our organization. He has been consistent, steady, and stellar through good years and poor years. He always gives the team a chance to win night in and night out. He’s also a workhorse, playing in about 70% of the games year after year. At only 33 years old he still has many great years as the leading goaltender. In many regards he reminds me of a former Buffalo goaltender, Dominick Hasek, who played stellar into his 40’s. Miller has the potential to be just as dominating as “The Dominator”.
The weakness for your team is offense. Sure, Ryan could be traded for a bon-a-fide star forward and/or young talent/picks. This option though would hurt the future of the Sabres. All the players acquired would require a few more years of training, growth, and ‘rebuilding’ mode. While I would love to see my local team, the Rochester Americans, win a few more Calder trophies, I would prefer to see the Sabres hoist their first ever Stanley Cup.
Your team already have stars in the making and talented prospects, I see that when I watch the Amerks play. The Sabres are also at the tipping point of breaking out and vying for a top seed in the East next year. As mentioned previously the Sabres have talent. Tyler Ennis is shining on the top line, Zemgus Girgensons is playing top minutes and proving to be a two-way threat. Hodgson continues to improve after recovery from injury. Ehrhoff is offensively gifted and Myers is adding defensive talent to his offensive skills. Mark Pysyk has become a household name (at least in Rochester and Buffalo) and proves to be a phenomenal talent at his age. He can be paired with anyone since he is good at adjusting to the play. He’s a completely complimentary player capable of aiding defense and offense.
Foligno continues to progress this year stepping up and down when required. Moulson, an acquisition, is demonstrating a scoring touch even away from the “Tavares effect“. He too should be signed along with Miller. Signing them will show good faith to those that work hard and a commitment towards winning a Cup sooner rather than later.
To address our teams’ lack of a bon-a-fide offensive stars and depth I have 2 trades in mind that will aide the Sabres in the short and long term. The first trade involves the best player in the game right now, and one of the 5 best players ever, Jaromir Jagr. Even at his age he is still the best player on the ice night in and night out. Compare him to any player playing right now his skills are the sharpest, his work-ethic is the best. He also plays an east-west game which compliments Buffalo’s north-south game granting further depth and threats for opposing teams to defend against. He also has the wisdom to tutor the young players on the team. Lastly he fills the hole at RW, a necessary position the Sabres lack in skill and depth. Jaromir Jagr has another great 3 years left of hockey in him if not more.
The second trade in mind also fills the hole at RW and creates depth for your team. I firmly believe that the Blackhawks will be open to trading Patrick Kane and Marcus Kruger. Patrick Kane’s exploits are well known. Ask anyone in the stands about Kane, a native of Buffalo, and they will tell you all you’ll ever need to know about him. His work ethic and skills are unparalleled in a player of his age.
He’s also starting his prime years and is a phenomenal team player. Marcus Kruger is a highly talented Swedish center. He is skilled with excellent vision and able to thread passes from a distance, turning defense into offense instantly. He also is great at face-0ffs winning, at the time of this article, 57.1% of them. He grants Buffalo tremendous depth at center.
The cost for these players is minimal to their net affect on our team as a whole. Jagr could be acquired in the offseason for money. While Kane and Kruger would cost a shiny nickle (thinking in terms of Grigorenko, Ristolainen, a first rd pick and/or 2nd rd pick). Buffalo would become instant contenders for Lord Stanley’s Cup next season and many season’s thereafter. Financially the Sabres could be very healthy with these acquisitions, even being $10-$15M under the cap next season.
Financial notes: Miller – $7.5-$8.25M/5-7yrs, Moulson $4ishM/4-6yrs. Jagr – $2-3M (plus incentives)/1-x years his choice on how long he’d like to play even if he does pull a Zigmund Palffy. Ennis – $3.5M/5yrs. Kane $8-9M/7yrs, Kruger 1.75M/3yrs.
I’ll see you Wednesday night VS the Pens and I pray Miller will be in net!