By Mike Harrington
New General Manager Tim Murray's comment today that everyone is tradeable on a 30th-place team certainly has to echo in the mind of pending Sabres free agents Ryan Miller, Steve Ott and Matt Moulson. Miller, in particular, is becoming an interesting case study in the wake of a season that has seen him post a .927 save percentage and earn a berth on the U.S. Olympic team even though the Sabres are the worst team in the league.
He's having a great season but can he keep it up from age 33 and beyond, particularly when he's said he wants a Henrik Lundqvist-type contract that would take him to 40?
After the formal press conference ended today in the First Niagara Center atrium, president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine had plenty to say about the prospects of keeping Miller. He's all for it.
"To come by a goalie like that who wants to stay here should he choose to want to stay here helps our team grow," LaFontaine said. "It gives us an opporutnity to develop. If he wants to be here under the right terms, I think you'd love to keep Ryan Miller. He's involved in the community. He's part of the foundation for this organization. If that is going to be a decision and the terms and everything will work, it would be great."
LaFontaine said he and Murray will be meeting with Miller in short order to take his pulse. Miller declined to speak to the media today until he's had a chance to speak with Murray.
"The most important thing is to listen to what Ryan Miller wants to do," LaFontaine said. "Obviously you'd love to keep a great goalie like that. He knows Buffalo. Everybody loves him here but at the same instance I've got to know what he wants to do. If it fits into the plan long term and financially it's a good fit, Ryan Miller will be here. If not, if he doesn't want to be here, we'll make the best choice for the future of our organization."