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.

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.