As I sit down for yet another episode of “Sufferin’ With the Sabres”, I look back on a week of rather painful hockey. Yes, I know that can be said for any week of Sabres hockey. The Sabres looked abysmal against the Rangers, and lost a tough battle to the Stars in Lindy Ruff’s return to Buffalo. Plus, the week started with the Sabres sending Thomas Vanek to the Islanders.
The Vanek trade, in my eyes, says one thing; No one is safe.
That is fine by me.
However, there is one move that needs to be made at this point at time. While players like Stafford, Ennis, or Ott, are probably going to be on the move at some point, the focus needs to be on one player, and just one player at this time.
That player; Ryan Miller.
I hate saying this. I’ve been a Ryan Miller fan from day one. I do not want to see him go.
Unfortunately, the time has come for him to move on to greener pastures.
At this point in time, the goalies for the Buffalo Sabres are keeping this team in games. There’s no denying that. Ryan Miller is still a top caliber goalie. He had his shot in Buffalo, and it doesn’t take a genius to realize that he wants out of Buffalo. The Buffalo Sabres are currently a sinking ship, and he wants to get off.
The longer that the Buffalo Sabres wait, I suspect Miller’s trade value will decrease. Every single night that Miller is in the lineup, he runs the risk of getting injured. Moving Miller is going to be a humongous step in this rebuilding process. The return for him can be fantastic, and he needs to be moved now.
However, we all know this.
What I want to see isn’t just Miller moved, but Jhonas Enroth given the opportunity to be a starter. We do not know at this time whether or not Enroth can start and be good on a regular basis in the NHL. Before committing to Enroth, he needs to demonstrate that he can be that starter. Well, this is the time for him to shine. If Miller is moved now, Enroth gets to show whether he has what it takes. I’m not looking for wins, because we all know that’s probably not going to happen. I’m looking for him to do what Miller is doing, keep Buffalo in games.
With this rebuild, I’m a firm believer that you start in goal and work outward. We know Enroth is a more than capable backup. I’m sure we’ll see an excellent display by him again tonight while the rest of the team dies in front of him (I am being pleasantly surprised right now though). I want to see him do it for the whole season. If Enroth demonstrates that he can do this, sign him to a nice long term deal and rest easy about the goaltender situation. If he struggles, start taking a look at Hackett, Lieuwen, and Knapp to start in goal. I view this the same way I look at the Sabres roster. I don’t necessarily want to see veterans right now. I want to see players like Girgensons, Zadorov, and Ristolainen getting a substantial amount of ice time to see if they can handle NHL hockey and to give them experience. The same approach needs to be taken with Enroth. As long as Miller is in Buffalo, Enrothwon’t get the opportunity he needs.
Unfortunately, the longer Miller stays in Buffalo, the longer it will take to give Enroth the shot that I’m sure he really wants. Buffalo is blessed with having goaltending not being a huge concern for them with this rebuild.
However, at this point in time, a deal needs to be made for Miller. That way, Buffalo can start to focus on fixing the rest of this team, and just worry about assessing Enroth.
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As always, thanks for reading!