Ryan Miller

Sabres send Miller, Ott to Blues for package including Halak, Stewart


Hockey fans didn’t need to wait until Wednesday for a huge trade. The St. Louis Blues acquired Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres in a deal that includes Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round draft pick in 2015 and a third-round draft pick in 2016.

Update: This post explains how that third-rounder could become a first-round pick.

The Blues announced that Ott and Miller will meet the team in Phoenix, so there’s at least a chance both could debut on Sunday.

Let’s take a glance at each piece of the deal.

Miller, 33: The centerpiece of this trade, Miller’s contract expires after this season. The 33-year-old has maintained strong individual numbers even as the Sabres have struggled to provide him with an adequate supporting cast many years. He won’t have that excuse in St. Louis.

Click here for Miller’s emotional reaction.

Halak, 28: Another goalie with an expiring contract, it remains to be seen if Buffalo sticks with him or tries to stockpile an even more impressive set of assets by moving him again. The Blues made headlines by pledging their support for him not so long ago.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie adds a minor detail:

Ott, 31: Another expiring contract in this deal, Ott is one of the NHL’s most agitating pests. His versatility might explain why he wore the captain’s “C” in Buffalo, however, as he can win faceoffs and chip in a little bit of offense here and there. In other words, the kind of player Ken Hitchcock loves.

Stewart, 26: Stewart has been a part of a blockbuster trade in the past, as the Colorado Avalanche sent him to St. Louis in a deal that also included Erik Johnson and Kevin Shattenkirk. Stewart is a streaky scorer who can be dangerous when he’s trending up; he has 15 goals and 26 points in 58 games after scoring 18 goals and 36 points in 48 games last season. His career-high is 28 goals from 2009-10 with Colorado.

He’s an interesting piece in this deal (and maybe a future deal?) as his contract doesn’t expire until after the 2014-15 season. He carries a $4.15 million cap hit.

Carrier: Carrier, 19, was the 57th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft. He has 15 points in 20 games with the QMHJHL’s Drummondville Votigeurs this season.

Picks: Buffalo continues to load up on draft picks. With Matt Moulson still in tow and even these new assets carrying at least some trade potential, new GM Tim Murray could revamp this roster in a hurry.

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
Leave a comment

Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
1 Comment

Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen