The Sabres’ trade of Ryan Miller contained a host of conditions that would change the final haul, but the February deal is near completion today after St. Louis decided to move on from the goaltender.
The Blues have re-signed backup Brian Elliott to a three-year, $7.5 million deal. St. Louis already announced that minor-league star Jake Allen will be in the NHL next season, so there’s no room for Miller.
The pending unrestricted free agent will likely hit the open market July 1. That would finalize the trade as Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis for forward Chris Stewart, goalie Jaroslav Halak, prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft and a third-round pick in 2016. Halak was traded to Washington along with a 2015 third-round selection for goalie Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla, who declined to report to Buffalo.
One condition to the blockbuster deal between the Sabres and Blues remains – a St. Louis trade of Miller – so there’s a possibility the 2016 third-round pick sent to Buffalo could turn into something else.
However, there probably won’t be much trade demand for Miller since the few teams in need of a goalie could freely pursue him in the summer. Plus, the former face of the Sabres’ franchise had a rough time with the Blues, putting up a .903 save percentage in 19 regular-season games and just a .897 save percentage and 2.70 goals-against average in the playoffs as Chicago bounced St. Louis in the first round.
If St. Louis trades Miller prior to the June 27 draft, the deal becomes the following: Buffalo sends Miller, Ott, a 2014 second-round pick originally belonging to Minnesota and a 2014 third-rounder to St. Louis for Stewart, Halak, Carrier, the 2015 first-rounder, the 2016 third-round selection plus a 2014 first-round pick.
If St. Louis trades Miller after it makes its first-round pick and before the start of free agency July 1, the trade finalizes as Miller and Ott to the Blues for Stewart, Halak, Carrier, the 2015 first-round pick and a 2016 second-round selection.