Ryan Miller gives the Blues that Cup-contending edge
In the case of the NHL, that acquisition occurred on Friday when the St. Louis Blues went out and got former Vezina Trophy winner Ryan Miller from the Buffalo Sabres. Yes, there were other players involved in the trade, but it is Miller that makes this deal a winner for the Blues.
For starters, the Blues get a big-game goaltender. Miller has plenty of postseason experience, has done well in the playoffs and more importantly, can carry a team on his back when they need it the most.
Back in 2010, Miller led Team USA to within one goal of winning the Gold Medal in Vancouver. In winning the Silver Medal, Miller went 5-0-1 with a 1.35 goals against average and a .946 save percentage (both American Olympic records) while also winning the IIHF best goaltender honors and being named to the Olympic All-Star team.
Secondly, the Blues get someone who is capable of having success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Sure, Miller has not won a Cup yet but when playing in the postseason, Miller has had his share of success.
In 2005-06, Miller carried a young Sabres' hockey team on his back all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, where the team would go on to lose to the eventual Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes. During that run, Miller went 11-7 with a 2.56 goals against average a .908 save percentage, and one shutout.
The following season, Miller once again led his team to the Eastern Conference Finals and once again lost, this time to the Ottawa Senators. During that postseason run, Miller went 9-7 with a 2.22 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.
Miller would make the postseason two more times after that (2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons) and while he was not able to get his team into the second round, he did play well enough to get his team close to accomplishing that. This should show you that Miller can play well in hockey's second season.
Lastly, the Blues now have a netminder who is more motivated than ever to have success. Not only has Miller not been in a postseason for two straight seasons, but Miller has been on a struggling team for the past three years.
While with the Sabres the last two and a half years, Miller was a part of a lot of losses, a lot of blown leads, and a lot of games that ultimately slipped away. For someone who won a Hobey Baker Award, a Vezina Trophy, a Silver Medal, and got to within a few games of a Stanley Cup Final twice, Miller really needed an opportunity to play for a winning hockey team again.
Miller now has this chance with the Blues. As of this writing, the Blues are second in both the Western Conference and entire NHL with 86 points and are considered by many to be Cup contenders this season.
With Miller now between the pipes, the Blues's Cup dream just became a reality.