All signs point to Ryan Miller being traded from the Buffalo Sabres and finishing his career elsewhere. Miller has been a standout for Buffalo and over his twelve years in the organization and arguably the team’s second best goalie ever. The fact he followed closely behind the best goalie in franchise history in Dominik Hasek has not always been fair.

Hasek has been identified as the best goalie in the history of the NHL by most survey’s including a feature done by the NHL Network. As the story went it described Hasek as being able to elevate his game to a lever achieved by no other goaltender. For those who remember Hasek as a Sabre there were stretches of games where Hasek could not be beat.

The Sabres made it to the Stanley Cup finals in 1999 largely on the play of Hasek. The Sabres lost in six games on the now famous “no-goal” game, but Hasek kept his team in the series against a much more talented Dallas Stars team.

Ryan Miller has never raised his game to Hasek’s level, but he has had a fine career in Buffalo. Miller’s best season was in 2009-2010 when he won the Vezina and willed Team USA to the Silver medal at the Olympics, only losing to Canada in OT in the Gold medal game.

Comparing Hasek and Miller’s statistics in Buffalo looks like this: Hasek had a 2.28 goals against average and a .923 save percentage in nine seasons. In his previous seven seasons as a Sabre Ryan Miller has a 2.58 goales against and a .915 save percentage. Miller’s numbers are no embarrassment when held up against someone who is considered the best.

The fact that Miller started playing for Buffalo just a few years after Hasek’s departure has in my opinion done him no favors. Older fans still had the play of Hasek fresh in their minds when Miller was earning his way through the NHL. It’s like playing guard for the Chicago Bulls after Michael Jordan retired, how can you make your own mark?

To his credit Ryan Miller has made his mark as a Sabre and has carved out his own legacy. The team unfortunately only had a few seasons when it could match Miller’s talent on the ice and he never had a chance to play in the finals for the Cup. Miller is very good, but Dominik Hasek made the Sabres competitive against any team in the NHL on any given night.

Ryan Miller still has the capability to take a talented team far into the playoffs and the hope here is that he ends up on a team that can take a run at the Cup.

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