The Ryan Miller to St. Louis trade rumors have persisted for the better part of two years. As the Buffalo Sabres work through their rebuild, all signs have pointed to the team trading away their goaltender. Though other teams have been linked, the rumors almost always seem to come back to the St. Louis Blues.
While it's important to remember that these rumors are pure speculation, we can still analyze if a potential trade would even be possible given the team's current financial situation.
Let's first start with this excerpt from an article seen over on SI.com:
"No matter how well Jaroslav Halak has played for St. Louis (and to be fair, he was great on Thursday night in Boston), there’s a sense that he’s more like long relief than the closer. Ryan Miller, arguably the best goalie in the league this year, might be the guy who can get the Blues over the hump.
Now you have to think the Sabres have made/will make an effort to convince Miller to stick around now that there’s new management in place. If that fails–and assume it will because it’s hard to imagine him wanting to stick around for a rebuild at his age (33)–the Blues make some sense.
St. Louis does have a couple of intriguing prospects in Dmitrij Jaskin and Ty Rattie, and one of them could be key to getting a deal done. The trick for the Blues will be the cap. St. Louis is only $396,859 under the ceiling. Miller’s hit is $6.25 million, so even if the Blues included Halak and his expiring $3.75 million hit, they still wouldn’t have enough room. That means the Sabres would have to be willing to eat some money as they did in the deal that sent Thomas Vanek to the Islanders last month, and for the right prospect/package, they might."
That's a pretty accurate summary. The Blues have the pieces to get a trade done, but the financial aspect is a pretty big issue. As mentioned above, either the Blues would have to send a piece the other way who carries a decently large cap hit or the Sabres would have to eat some salary. Neither option is very appealing. The Sabres want to find the biggest bang for their buck and the Blues won't want to deal away any significant parts.
The Blues are enjoying some outstanding goaltending so far in 2013-14. Despite all of the success between the pipes, some big decisions need to be made. Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott are in the final year of their current contract. Will both men return? There's almost a zero percent chance of that happening considering Jake Allen is waiting in the AHL. At least one goalie is on his way out. Perhaps more than one.
Miller has played well in 2013-14 and is usually labeled as one of the best goaltenders in the league. The team he is playing for is horrible, yet he's still doing a solid job in net all things considered. He'd be an outstanding addition, but the Blues need to tread cautiously. Given Halak's success this year and Elliott's steady play, would it really make sense to trade away the club's best prospect(s)?
In my opinion, I'd sit on my hands. Halak and Elliott have been strong in net. Don't mess with a good thing. The Blues have been one of the best teams in the NHL and it seems like an unnecessary risk to make a drastic change at this stage. Wait and see how things develop. If a major injury or a slump emerges, then this trade would make a lot more sense. Injuries have limited Halak in the playoffs, so it might be a bit unfair to remove him if he maintains his current rate of success.
Don't risk the franchise's future for a fix the team may not even need. If you really, really want Miller, go out and get him over the summer.
Keep an eye on these rumors. Usually the Blues make a trade no one sees coming, but this is a rumor which just won't go away.