Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life without Ryan Miller

Buffalo Sabres
With Ryan Miller's ankle sprain he will be out for some time, and will leave the Sabres without one of the leagues best goaltenders to rely on. From personal experience I know that ankle sprains can mean anything as far as time out goes, but that the absolute worst thing you can do is to come back too early.

So for the short term that leaves Patrick Lalime and Jhonas Enroth as the Sabres goalies. Enroth is a promising prospect who played very well last season in Sweden and has looked decent so far this year in the AHL. He may well be the future goaltender for this team if something happens to Miller.

However in the coming days Lalime will be getting the vast majority of the starts. His record this season had not been too good, but more often then not that was the result of the play in front of him, and not Lalime playing poorly. Last season he had a winning record for a non-playoff team in Chicago getting a bunch of starts due to an injury to the starting goaltender there.

The other option is to trade for a goaltender, but with the trading deadline just over a week away there are only a limited number of options available. There is no obvious team looking to give up a quality goaltender and it is unlikely that the Sabres could pick up someone much better than Lalime. Detroit would probably trade Osgood, but given how he has played this season, the Sabres probably wouldn't want him. A trade for a big name player is more unlikely because Miller should be back in time for the playoffs, so this would be an even shorter term player rental.

The best option for the Sabres is to hope that their defense stays healthy and the Lalime is good enough to get the job done. He looked good the last two games in which he replaced Miller, lets now see him win some starts.

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