Who's No. 1?
After a 2006-07 performance that saw Ryan Miller win 40 games, post a 2.73 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage, there is little question that the 27-year-old has the ability to carry the Sabres on his back for a long time to come.
The club, itself, came to that conclusion during the 2006-07 season, trading talented backup Martin Biron to Philadelphia for a draft pick to clear the way for Miller to become the big man on campus in Buffalo.
With two full seasons of NHL play under his belt -- including 34 playoff games -- Miller is on the cusp of becoming a workhorse goalie in the same elite class as New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and Calgary’s Miikka Kiprusoff.
In those 34 playoff games over the past two seasons, Miller has gone 20-14 with a 2.40 GAA and .915 save percentage, suggesting that he has no qualms about playing on the biggest stage.
With Miller taking most of the starts, the Sabres were interested in finding a veteran keeper who can stay sharp despite a small amount of work. Buffalo believes it found that player in Jocelyn Thibault.
A 13-year vet and former All-Star, Thibault has not played in more than 22 games in any of the last three seasons. Last year, he was the backup to another young and emerging goalie, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury. A hip injury limited Thibault to those 22 games, where he posted a respectable 2.83 GAA and .909 save percentage.
Just as important as his on-ice skills, though, is his off-ice demeanor. Thibault is a consummate professional, who is well-respected in the room and handles sporadic duty without complaint.
In the Wings
Adam Dennis – The 22-year-old is just two years removed from being the OHL Goaltender of the Year while with London. Last season, he went 18-17-0 with a 3.34 GAA and a .894 save percentage for Rochester of the American Hockey League. He should fight for No. 1 duties with the Amerks this season as he continues his progression.
Jhonas Enroth – Buffalo’s second-round pick last year, Enroth is a 19-year-old Swede who is considered by many to be the best Swedish goalie prospect since Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers broke onto the scene. He has been very good for his country internationally and will play for Sodertalje again this year.