The Future of Miller and Vanek

Updated: June 26, 2013

As we near the NHL Entry Draft, Sabres fans alike are wondering what will happen with Thomas Vanek and Ryan Miller. While the Sabres’ organization may not admit it, the team is going through a rebuilding phase, like it or not.

Miller and Vanek have been in Buffalo from the start, but that could change by this October. The rumors have been swirling, especially about Miller and to which teams he could go to. Now, at the end of June, it seems as if Vanek’s future is just as uncertain as Miller’s.

Let’s look at each player a little more:

Ryan Miller


The 32-year-old has been with the Sabres for eight full seasons now and has recorded 269 career victories. He has one year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.25M.

With Flyers’ netminder Ilya Bryzgalov being bought out and Roberto Luongo’s future in Vancouver in jeopardy again, what do the Sabres want to do with Miller?

From the Sabres locker room cleanout this past season, it sounded like Miller knew his days in Buffalo were numbered.

“If it’s to be in Buffalo, I’m going to savor my whole career somewhere I like to be. That’s great,” he said. “If it’s somewhere else, I’m going to have to accept it and move on. That’s sports.”

Thomas Vanek


There’s no question that Vanek does not want to be a part of a long term rebuild, and why should he? The former 1st round (5th overall) pick and 40-goal scorer has been a big part of Buffalo for the past eight years.

Now, after almost a decade with the team, he faces a situation similar to that of Miller’s.

At only 29 years old, Vanek still has plenty of time remaining to put up solid numbers. Is it worth it for the Sabres to keep him with a cap hit of $7.1M, or do they see what they can get in return?

“Let’s be honest. I’m not stupid. I know I have a year left and they can probably deal me for prospects, young guys, whatever else is out there. If it looks like it’s a long rebuild, then it probably makes sense for both parties to move on.”

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  1. Michelle Spalding via Facebook

    June 27, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I did watch a lot of the playoffs & yes you are right the Sabres were nowhere close to the caliber of play the playoff teams were. Even if they had managed to squeak into the playoffs I don’t think they would have made it out of the quarter finals. But I don’t know if I agree with Niemi being a better goalie than Miller-yes he did have a better record this season but how much of that is factored by the team he had in front of him? Miller faced more SA (1270) than any other goalie in the league. This could have been because the Sabres were last in puck possession. Stat wise I don’t really see that much difference between them. Their GAA is nearly identical. What I don’t understand about the Miller/Vanek trade talk is that if they are that valuable to other teams & worth so much on the market why would the Sabres want to trade them?

  2. Mike Kellner via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    He does not refuse to…he does not have the stones or the ability to draft; trade or do whatever it takes to make the Sabres a contender. He is soft serve as Weekes puts it hence the Sabres are soft serve for the most part.

  3. Mike Kellner via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    One word: Regier. He does not have the ability to draft; trade or make the necessary moves to make the Sabres a contender. If you watched any of the playoffs you had to see just how far off the Sabres are at competing at THAT level for 16 wins. To be down 3-1 in a series to win it; to have defeated 3 other Championship teams en route to winning the Cup. The Sabres are a farm team as soon as Vanek and Miller depart. Miller is older and wiser, I think he benefits from playing less games. To be home with his wife in LA would do him wonders…it may even be Anahiem. I would trade him straight up for Hiller or Niemi in San Jose. But SJ would be foolish since Niemi is a better goalie than Miller. Hiller and Miller are about even up.

  4. Tommie Jon via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    We can only hope and dream. If we had ANY other GM on the planet they would be gone. But This GM refuses to do whats best for this team.

  5. Michelle Spalding via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Miller is too experienced & costly to be a back-up. I would be surprised if he would even consider an offer that was not for a #1 position. I agree with you about Vanek-he can sign with most any team & be successful-but there are no guarantees for either the player or the team that someone is going to perform well or in the manner that they have in the past. Sure Miller & Vanek deserve to win a cup but what’s so unreasonable about them winning it with Buffalo?

  6. Mike Kellner via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    I wanted and still want the Sabres to try and trade for Bernier who just went to Toronto who made be using him for trade bait. My second choice is Mike Smith coming to Buffalo..Enroth is NOT the answer. Smith will most likely go to Philly…since Regier has no balls to make moves to make the Sabres a contender.

  7. Mike Kellner via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I would not be suprised if Miller ends up in LA with Quick…an injury puts Miller back at the #1. Vanek could feasibly land with any team ready to win the Cup as the contenders build allstar teams to win it all. Buffalo now has an AHL roster, Miller and Vanek deserve to win a Cup and it won’t be in Buffalo. We need to get SOMETHING for them before they walk for nothing signing with the highest bidder. It’s not really up to the Sabres whether they stay or go.

  8. Michael Pritchard via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    This article is not well written we can speculate all we want if miller is moved it would make sense to go to Philly, I will speculate that I return we will wire get picks or a center that is needed. Listen to pegula on WGR he wants them both but in speculation they will keep only one and it would be Vanek. We have goalies we need goal scoters

  9. Justin Banker via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Also consider this, with Colorado claiming to pck MacKinnon at 1, they are basically baiting the teams that need / want MacKinnon bad, Colorado needs Jones.

  10. Justin Banker via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    The best fit for Vanek would have been LA or Philly, Philly is sill an option with the buying out of briere, having cap space and a roster spot. Expect them to move him for Coutorier / picks. Miller is a tough one, Colorado would have been a great place, if we get stastny in return (if Col picks up MacKinnon, expect stastny to go somewhere. In thinking stastny and a prospect / pick for miller.

  11. Bobby Caico via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Regier should try to move up from 16th

  12. via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Michelle, if you don’t mind, you’ll get a response in the mailbag being currently written.

  13. Michelle Spalding via Facebook

    June 26, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    I don’t understand the logic behind trading Miller &/or Vanek-obviously I understand the theory behind trade them before they walk (Drury/Briere) but why let go of veteran, seasoned, experienced players? Who’s going to fill their positions? Enroth is a good goalie but I’m not sure that he is ready for the starting position. & as for Miller-where is he going to go where he would have a substantially better chance to win a cup in the next 4-5 years? MOST of the teams that are cup or even playoff contenders already have a proven goalie signed so he could end up on a team that is in the same position/predicament as Buffalo….I realize that Miller isn’t a cheap contract-but you get what you pay for.

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