The Buffalo Sabres made the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline a lot more interesting in one fell swoop Friday night.
As expected, the Sabres moved one of the biggest assets on the market in goaltender and franchise icon Ryan Miller, setting off a potential feeding frenzy before the March 5 deadline.
The destination and the haul for the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner are likely to make the next five days even more interesting. It's also a safe bet that the Sabres will remain one of the primary players in whatever drama develops in the coming days.
Miller and Buffalo captain Steve Ott were sent to the Blues in exchange for goalie Jaroslav Halak, power forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick that the Sabres say could net them the Blues' first-rounder in June if St. Louis makes the Western Conference Final or Miller re-signs with his new team.
In moving Miller to the Blues, the Sabres may well have set off a chain reaction in the Western Conference by becoming markedly better without losing much from their current depth. Miller has had a Vezina Trophy-caliber season with the struggling Sabres. He could be a significant upgrade playing for Ken Hitchcock, a defensive-minded coach, and in front of a better, more experienced defense corps.
"We just think this gives us a better opportunity to have success this year and it also allows us to keep our prime assets," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "There's a few players that were discussed we wouldn't part with, some of our signed players that are currently with our team. We wanted to keep the guys like Jake Allen, Dmitrij Jaskin and maybe one or two other players. When we were able to keep those players, it seemed like a deal that made sense for us."