We’re going to review the February 28, 2014, deal that sent Ryan Miller to the St. Louis Blues and Chris Stewart to the Buffalo Sabres along with the ripple effect it had on both clubs.
The St. Louis Blues have been one of the better teams in the NHL for the past six seasons. For the longest time, they have been expected to challenge for the Stanley Cup. However, the closest they got to that goal is when they made the Western Conference Finals in 2016 and lost to the San Jose Sharks.
Up until that point, their goaltending had been one of their biggest issues. They tended to use platoons that included Jaroslav Halak, Ben Bishop, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen. No matter who was in net, they couldn’t proceed past the second round before the 2016 season.
The Sabres had fallen on hard times, only making the playoffs twice since 2008 and being eliminated in the first round both times. They had a goaltender in Ryan Miller that had been with their franchise for over a decade. He was arguably the face of the franchise for the second half of his tenure with the team. However, with his contract set to expire in the summer of 2014, they decided to make a move.
So the Blues and Sabres made a deal in which St. Louis would improve their goaltending and the Sabres would get some pieces for the future. They Blues sent Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 third-round pick to the Sabres in return for Miller and Steve Ott.
Evolution of the Ryan Miller Deal
Did the Sabres win this trade?
Ryan Miller would play 19 games with the Blues for the remainder of the 2013-14 season, with a record of 10-8-1. They entered the playoffs as the second seed in the Central Division and faced off against the third-seeded Chicago Blackhawks. Unfortunately, this trade didn’t help the Blues as the Blackhawks eliminated them in six games. They elected to go with a tandem of Elliott and Allen the next season, omitting Miller from their plans. Miller would go on to sign with the Vancouver Canucks.
Ott played 122 games over three seasons with the Blues, scoring three goals and 17 points. He signed with the Detroit Red Wings previous to the 2016-17 season. He retired on May 25th and has rejoined the Blues as an assistant coach.
The Sabres have taken this trade and have done much more with it.
Carrier, who was drafted by St. Louis 57th overall in 2013, made his NHL debut this season after two seasons with the Rochester Americans. He played 41 games, scoring five goals and adding three assists for eight points. He’ll more than likely have a bigger role with the Sabres next season.
Halak would dress as a backup for only one game with the Sabres. He would be traded, along with a 2015 third round pick (Robin Kovacs), to the Washington Capitals in return for Michal Neuvirth and Rostislav Klesla five days later. Klesla did not report to the Sabres, ending his NHL career and heading back to the Czech Republic.
Neuvirth would play 29 games over two seasons with the Sabres. He had a record of 6-19-3 before being traded to the New York Islanders for Chad Johnson and a 2016 third-round pick. The pick would then go to Pittsburgh as compensation for the Sabres hiring Dan Bylsma. Johnson played 45 games in 2015-16 for the Sabres, compiling a record of 22-16-4. He would sign with the Calgary Flames the following offseason.
Stewart played 66 games over two seasons with the Sabres. He scored 11 goals with 14 assists for a total of 25 points. He would be traded at the 2015 trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild for a 2017 second-round pick.
Here is where things get interesting. The first-rounder (Jack Roslovic) was dealt along with Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux to the Winnipeg Jets for Evander Kane, Zach Bogosian and Jason Kasdorf.
Kane has had a tumultuous time in Buffalo, just as he did in Winnipeg. Still surrounded by trade rumors, he has now spent two seasons in Buffalo. He has 48 goals and 78 points in 135 games. Bogosian remains a veteran presence on the Sabre’s defense. He has played 141 games for the Sabres, scoring nine goals and 42 points. Kasdorf played one game with the Sabres in the 2015-16 season but spent most of this season with the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL.
The third-rounder (Linus Nassen) was dealt to the Florida Panthers along with a second-rounder (Adam Mascherin) and Mark Pysyk for Dmitri Kulikov and Vancouver’s second rounder (Rasmus Asplund). Kulikov played 47 games with the Sabres this season and only recorded five points. He will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Asplund played with Farjestad BK of the SHL this past season, recording six goals and 19 points in 39 games. He also had a goal and seven points for Sweden in the 2017 World Juniors. He played on a line with fellow Sabres prospect Alex Nylander during the 2016 tournament as well.
So all-in-all, the Sabres have 505 games played from seven players and another promising prospect on the way. They also have that second-round pick from Minnesota in the 2017 NHL Draft to use so the ripple effects of the Miller deal still haven’t finished. As mentioned earlier, the Sabres could also get more assets if they manage to trade Kane this offseason. Who knows when the ripple effects will end?
The Blues on the other hand, they only got 141 games out of two players. Safe to say that the Sabres definitely won this deal. That being said, they have had more success since the trade without Miller, so they didn’t lose much.