Thomas Vanek is gone. Ryan Miller should be the next out Buffalo’s door. And soon.
Here’s why Sabres general manager Darcy Regier would be wise to trade his 33-year-old star goalie ASAP:
—- Despite a 1-9-0 record, Miller actually has pretty good numbers (.914 SV%). That’s something Regier can sell to other GMs. In fact, no goalie in the entire NHL has made more saves (328) than Miller has in 2013-14. (Buffalo gives up a ton of shots, if you haven’t noticed.) Regier may want to take advantage of Miller’s numbers now, while they’re still respectable, because there’s a chance they may not be for long, and that would obviously make it harder to get good value in a deal.
—- Teams that aren’t getting good goaltending (like, say, Edmonton) could be all but eliminated from playoff contention by March 5, the NHL’s trade deadline. Miller is a pending unrestricted free agent. If he’s traded as a rental (i.e. without a contract extension in place) like Vanek was, there should theoretically be more potential destinations now, when teams still have hope of making a comeback, than later, when hope has been extinguished.
—- Miller isn’t the only goalie that’s the subject of trade speculation. For example, Anaheim may end up moving Jonas Hiller. Similar to the point made above, Regier doesn’t want to be left trying to trade an asset nobody needs anymore. Ask the Vancouver Canucks how holding out for a better offer worked for them in the case of Roberto Luongo. Very different contract situations, obviously. But the point remains. The goalie market is a unique one. It can dry up real fast.
—- If Miller’s not going to re-sign with the Sabres (and you never know, but it really doesn’t look that way), why wait to sever the relationship? At some point, a new leadership group will need to emerge in Buffalo, and 25-year-old Jhonas Enroth has played well enough to take over starting duties for the rest of the season. With all the talk and speculation, the Miller situation is a big distraction for a team that needs far fewer of those.
The Buzzer: Celebrating genius of McDavid, Bergeron, Karlsson
There were great choices for player of the night, but ultimately, Bergeron’s return to the Bruins lineup stands tallest. He scored a goal and three assists, soothing injury-bummed Bruins fans as part of Boston’s victory against Vancouver.
Bergeron didn’t ease right in. He won half of his draws, fired six shots on goal, and almost logged 21 minutes of ice time. Maybe he can hold things together for Boston?
Update: The Edmonton Oilers ended up needing every bit of Connor McDavid‘s brilliance, as goals weren’t coming easily against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
(Even though, as you can see with that highlight-reel assist, McDavid often makes it look easy.)
McDavid also managed a secondary assist on Mark Letestu‘s overtime-winner, ending the Edmonton Oilers’ losing streak at four games. The Blackhawks continue to be resourceful in getting standings points, in this case falling 2-1 in OT.
Anton Forsberg made 40 of 42 saves, but it wasn’t enough against a driven group led by number 97.
If you haven’t seen the more amazing of McDavid’s two helpers, do yourself a favor and check it out. You won’t regret it.
Connor McDavid’s speed and skill are glorious, but the thing that makes him extra-sensational is just how unstoppable he seems. Even against some of the NHL’s best.
To start the season, McDavid made very-solid Calgary Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie look downright permeable during the most impressive goal in his opening-night hat trick.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, the superstar tore through the Chicago Blackhawks – including certain future Hall of Famer Duncan Keith – and then sent absolutely obscene pass to Patrick Maroon for an easy goal.
You know how people used to say that a fire hydrant could score 50 goals with Mario Lemieux? We might need to bump that down to 30 for modern hockey, but either way, Maroon might laugh uncomfortably at such jokes.
If you prefer your jaw-droppers in GIF form, drop away:
The roller coaster isn’t slowing down for the Boston Bruins.
With Tuukka Rask‘s concussion looming over the proceedings, the Bruins gave fans some reason to celebrate; Patrice Bergeron scored a goal and three assists in an impressive 6-3 output by the B’s top guns against the overmatched Vancouver Canucks.
Even Anders Bjork enjoyed some measure of redemption after bowling over Rask in practice, as the young player scored two goals and an assist despite being limited to 12:29 TOI.
Other big guns like Brad Marchand did their increasingly reliable damage, with David Pastrnak probably providing the most exhilarating goal of the contest:
Yeah, that might get some attention from Canucks coach Travis Green in film sessions, assuming he doesn’t just burn the tape.
Bergeron broke down his night to Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy after the game:
The Bruins really made Erik Gudbranson and the Canucks pay for boarding Frank Vatrano, as they scored three power-play goals on the major penalty. Vatrano’s another health situation to watch, although it’s heartening that he returned during the game.
So … solid stuff overall, as the Bruins provided ample evidence that they might have the weapons to scrap through all this bad luck.
Then again, if opponents can slow the top-end guys, you wonder what kind of supporting cast the Bruins will have left through this run of attrition. David Krejci is the latest name to land on Boston’s troubling list of walking wounded.
Update: David Krejci will not return with an upper-body injury.