Ryan Miller isn’t sure what the future holds for him in Buffalo, but he does know one thing — he wants it to be drama-free.
Or, as drama-free as possible.
Miller spoke with NHL.com during Monday’s Team USA Olympic camp in Virginia and, in discussing trade rumors, alluded to another high-profile netminder who’d been subjected to plenty of them — Roberto Luongo.
“I’m not going to try and handle it maybe the way Roberto did because I think the salary cap changing and a few other situations changing with regard to long-term contracts has already shifted [the market],” Miller explained. “I’m not saying he made bad decisions, I’m just saying it has all changed very quickly.
“He was operating with a contract that was signed with the last CBA. That’s hard and difficult to move that kind of contract because essentially that was Gary Bettman’s big thing was to close those [types of contracts] off. Trying to move something that they tried to get rid of is kind of a tough situation.”
As we’ve thoroughly documented here on PHT, the Luongo situation played out like a soap opera over the last 12 months. There was plenty of discussion about no-movement clauses and rejected trades and botched deals, all of which Miller is seeking to avoid in his future.
Part of this has to do with the current goaltending market.
Sabres GM Darcy Regier has found it difficult finding trade partners for Miller (who’s set to make $6.25 million this year) and, as such, Miller isn’t going to get in the way of any potential deal — even one that returns him to Buffalo.
“I’m not closed off to the possibility,” he explained. “I understand the situation in the NHL. There’s not a lot of goaltending jobs and they’re getting filled up by long-term contracts.
“I’m not going to try and close too many avenues at this point.”
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: