Well, that's one way to get this trade deadline season going, isn't it? Who knew that it would be this big though? And it's big on all levels, not only from a hockey sense, but also from a personal sense. Anyone who saw the press conference during the Sharks/Sabres game knows exactly what I'm talking about. Ryan Miller was very emotional, to the point of tears. And this is the reality of what it is like to not only be involved in trade rumors, but also to be traded from the team you gave everything to.
As expected, Miller was traded from Buffalo in an effort to start the rebuilding process for the Sabres. But he was not the only one involved here. The Blues also received Steve Ott as part of the deal. In return, the Sabres got goalie Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a 1st round draft pick in 2015, and a conditional draft pick in 2016, depending on if Miller resigns or Blues reach West Finals. That pick is a 3rd now, it will become a 1st if either scenario happens. So who won this trade?
The correct answer is, time will tell. But was it a good trade to make from both sides? Yes, and yes!
Let's first look at this from the Blues perspective. As Pierre Lebrun has reported since last summer, the Blues have been looking at upgrading the goaltending. Lebrun wrote that Miller would be a great fit for the Blues. Apparently, the Blues agreed. They have been contenders for the last 2 seasons, only to be knocked out in the playoffs early. Why you ask? Because better goaltending beat them. This was a move they had to make. Miller is a clear upgrade from Halak. Remember how great Miller was in the 2010 Olympics? He won the MVP. When playing at his highest level, he is one of the best goaltenders in the world. Add to that the fact that the Blues get Steve Ott as well, and you now have one of the top contenders for a Stanley Cup.
The Sabres also did well here. Tim Murray on several occasions has declared the team "open for business". They are starting from square one. If you are going to rebuild, then this is what you must do. When you have assets that can make your team better later, you must consider all possibilities. This is only the beginning for them too. Multiple sources, including Bob McKenzie, have indicated that the Sabres may trade Halak and Stewart to contenders to get more assets. Why wouldn't you? There is a market for these type of players. They will draw a good return. And there are others too, such as Tyler Myers and Christian Ehrhoff, that can bring back assets as well. Pay attention to Buffalo as the deadline approaches. What they do at the deadline will impact the playoffs, and years to come for several franchises.