It’s tempting, isn’t it? Devan Dubnyk is playing way below par, and Jason LaBarbera isn’t a permanent solution by any stretch. Ryan Miller is an experienced veteran. He has an expiring contract, and has even won a Vezina Trophy. He’s playing very well this season considering the team in front of him. After all, he will likely go to free agency and very badly wants to play for Team USA at the Olympics. It’s perfect, right? A goalie with a proven track record who is determined to have a big year. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Ryan Miller Doesn’t Want to be in Edmonton
Time to put the breaks on. Ryan Miller, despite the fact that he wants out of Buffalo, has a no-trade clause, and a list of teams he will not go to.
— Nick Kypreos (@RealKyper) October 17, 2013
Alright, let’s just say for sake of argument, Miller decides he would go to Edmonton in a trade, what are the odds that he re-signs there? Will he be so enamored with the city and organization that he will choose to stay long-term in a place he apparently has no desire to be? It’s possible, but the Oilers are in as bad shape as the Sabres are, despite the supposed superior talent. What is the point of bringing on a veteran goalie for the rest of the season? Can he really be what pushes them into a playoff spot? That would suggest goaltending is the sole source of the Oilers problems.
The Oilers Would Likely Have to Give up too Much
Unless the Oilers know Miller can be their goalie of the future, under no circumstances should they trade anything of value for him. He’s 33 years old, and is coming off a number of shaky performances over the past few seasons. Is he really the right guy to bring into the room?
The Sabres aren’t a very good team, therefore if they give up their franchise goalie they will probably ask for a large return, especially if the trade happens this early into the season. Nail Yakupov’s name has been thrown about lately. Now regardless of whether or not the coach likes him, trading a former number one pick who hasn’t even played a full 82 game season for a rental isn’t good management. The Oilers need to find a goaltender who will be with them for a long time. If they do give up Yakupov (which they shouldn’t), it would have had to be for a Jonathan Bernier, or Robin Lehner, or even Viktor Fasth possibly. Not a 33 year-old who doesn’t really want to be there.
The Oilers Might be that Desperate
As crucial points continue to slip away, and a team like the Colorado Avalanche is proving to have the better young studs, the Oilers need to start winning games, and fast. Even the Calgary Flames look better. Edmonton might be getting desperate. Desperate enough to make some kind of blockbuster band-aid trade? Perhaps.
Now obviously, it isn’t set in stone that Ryan Miller wouldn’t stay in Edmonton if he in fact accepted a trade there. But he wants a Stanley Cup, and the Oilers are very far from contending for a championship. Maybe he would sign a short term deal. But again, the Oilers simply can’t go and trade young talent for a guy who may not (and probably won’t) stay. That’s what teams who actually have a chance to win the Cup do. Teams who have all the other necessary pieces in play and just need someone to push them over the edge.
The Oilers are not that team. So unless all the Sabres ask for is a low-level prospect, or low round draft pick, don’t make this trade Edmonton.
Marcy, a former hockey player, is a hockey correspondent on CTV News and TSN radio. She began her career as a Sports Journalist in 2009 and has been part of The Hockey Writers since 2010, where she is currently a senior writer and editor.