CFN – The first major trade of the 2013/14 season has occurred, and it’s an interesting whopper!
Buffalo sends out Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis.
In return the Blues get Jaroslav Halak, a UFA himself and most likely to be traded again, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 1st in 2015 and a 3rd in 2016.
Who got the best in this deal? Clearly Buffalo and I’ll share with you why I think that way.
Traditional thinking is that the team that gets the best player wins. While I love Halak I have to admit that Miller edges him although I could argue that Halak has better play off number and potential.
In getting Miller and Ott St.Louis has gone all in for this year’s play off run without selling the farm. It was a smart hockey trade. Halak is UFA and injury prone on a team that needs to win now. Miller is no slouch and is more durable. Can and does St. Louis resign Miller? That changes the complexion of the deal down the road as does of course what happens with the draft picks that Buffalo gets.
Ott, a fierce warrior is also UFA and has a lot of miles on his clock. While he does a lot of things well, scoring is not one of them nor does he have a particular shiny play off record. In some ways he’s an upgrade over Stewart and in someways not. Stewart has one more year t $4.1M which he should earn with the ice time he will get more of playing for the Sabres.
The Blues do get a bit older. Miller is 33 to Halak’s 28 and Ott is 31 compared to Stewart’s 26.
The Blues clearly win because frankly Halak isn’t really a step down when he’s healthy than Miller. Even in his limited play off time for the Blues he shined. His shut out rate; something I consider significant for goalies is higher than Miller’s. He’s younger and has a smaller cap hit and will have a smaller cap hit next year too. The Sabres can try and resign him or send him out right away for a good return; especially with Miller off the market now.
Chris Stewart was rumored to be a trade piece heading to NY for Ryan Callahan. While rumors aren’t worth much teams are always looking to get bigger and stronger. Stewart is no goon. He can and has scored goals and is only 26 with no major injury history. He’s also locked in for one more year; a contract year. Buffalo will get good value from him on the ice next year and again will have an asset decision to make on him. Both Halak and Stewart have the ability to yield more for the Sabres which again makes them great acquisitions for letting go of Miller and Ott.
William Carrier is a promising Pierrefonds Quebec talent. He is not chopped liver. He has shown growth, grit, and some play off ability. If his skating evolves he may be a third line talent for Buffalo. As for the draft picks, well it’s always good to have extra ammo to play with and while St. Louis 1st will near the end of the round it’s still a 1st round pick.
Blues get Miller and Ott for play off run. Possibly resign both; Miller for 3-5 years at $7M.
Sabres get Halak to flip or resign, Stewart for one more year at $4.1, possible NHL player in Carrier and two draft picks.
Buffalo wins this trade, but it’s a seller’s market and Ryan Miller was the cream of the crop. Kudo’s to new Sabres GM Tim Murray!
What do you think hockey fans? You can post your comments below.