Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't Expect the Islanders to Deal for Ryan Miller

Garth Snow may be crazy, and he proved that he may be by trading for Thomas Vanek earlier in the season, but is he just plain dumb? Because anybody who is suggesting that the Isles would give up more of their highly valued prospects and/ or players to acquire the services of Ryan Miller for a few months before he becomes an unrestricted free agent, is insinuating as much.

Surely the Isles aren't looking to trade for another player who will almost certainly fly the coup after the season, and surely the Islanders aren't holding on to the belief that a bona fide goalie would do anything to help this team out of its current malaise. If Miller couldn't backstop the Sabres to relevancy, what makes anybody believe that he would be able to do so for the Islanders, a team that has progressively gotten worse with each passing week?

Allan Muir of SI helped to put some of the Miller-to-the-Islanders rumors to rest in his Home Ice column today, and he hits the nail on the head with the following statement:

That leaves Sabres goalie Ryan Miller as the obvious choice, but the risk involved in swapping for Buffalo’s netminder would be high — for both sides.

There’s no reason for the Sabres to do anything to help New York. Remember, Buffalo acquired, conditionally, the Islanders’ first-round pick in 2014, as well as a second-rounder in ’15, as part of the Thomas Vanek for Matt Moulson deal. It’s in the Sabres’ best interest then to see New York fail.

And even if Islanders GM Garth Snow was willing to pay Buffalo’s price (a high pick and a solid, though not elite, prospect), it might mean putting his job on the line. Miller and Vanek are pending UFAs, and if both walked after Snow had emptied New York’s coffers to acquire them, the losses would be devastating to the franchise.

So what’s likely to happen? Look for Snow to make two smaller deals: one to acquire a goalie with some longer-term potential, and one for a veteran defenseman to shore up the Islanders’ shaky blue line.

To that I will add: If I was Garth Snow and had been fleeced by the Sabres once in 2013, I'd probably turn my attention to another trading partner. The Islanders need one if not two defenseman, and yes, they do need to find a long-term solution at goalie, which Miller currently isn't. And even if the Isles do want to make a pitch for Miller, they'll have every opportunity to do that on July 1 when the American becomes a UFA.

As far as Miller's current value in light of Henrik Lundqvist's seven-year deal with the Rangers, Muir had some thoughts on that as well:

Speaking of Miller, what’s he worth now in the wake of Henrik Lundqvist’s seven-year, $59.5 million deal? At 33, Miller is two years older than the King, so it’s hard to see anyone giving him a contract that match’s the length of Lundqvist’s agreement, but the average annual value might not be that far off. Something in the neighborhood of four years and $26 million for Miller seems likely, although another bravura Olympic performance for Team USA could up the ante.

Sounds about right. But Miller sounds like a bargain at that price. Expect him to light up the league once he gets a new lease on life, preferable with a team that can play in front of him.