Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller had another great game last night, shutting out the Rangers on the way to a Sabres loss.
Nope, that wasn’t a typo. New York ended up winning, 1-0, in a shootout. However, Miller’s recent play suggests the former Vezina winner is back on top of his game.
Given the above, the Buffalo News’ Bucky Gleason is wondering if now might be the perfect time to explore a trade.
What happens between now and the NHL trade deadline will reveal how the Sabres feel about Miller and a few others. He has a 0.63 goals-against average and .976 save percentage in his last three games. The better he plays, the greater his value. The better he plays, the more tempted they are to keep him.
And that’s what makes the coming weeks so intriguing. Do they trade him with the idea they can make significant upgrades in other areas, assuming they can find a trading partner to take his salary? Or do they keep him with the risk he’ll have another season like this one?
When asked about the possibility of being traded, Miller replied, “If they came to me and said they wanted to move me, I would want to know why. That hasn’t been the case. No one has ever asked about my feelings regarding players and movement, especially with myself. People think there’s more discussion being done behind the scenes than there really is.”
Miller has two years remaining on a contract with a cap hit of $6.25 million. If the Sabres wanted to trade him, they probably could. But would they?
Related: Columnist thinks it’s time for Canucks to trade Cory Schneider
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.
Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?
We’ll know in a month.
Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:
The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.
The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.
If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.
Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”
And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.
While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.