BUFFALO -- After 12 years in the Buffalo Sabres organization, Ryan Miller is no longer their goaltender, and his departure from the team and the city is an emotional one.
Miller and Sabres captain Steve Ott were traded to the St. Louis Blues on Friday for goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, forward prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and a conditional third-round pick in 2016.
Goalie - STL
GAA: 2.72 | SVP: 0.923
"I'm just thankful to everybody in Buffalo," Miller said at First Niagara Center, where he was scheduled to play against the San Jose Sharks
. "Friends, fans, the organization top down, management over the years that believed in me; (owners) Terry and Kim [Pegula], who came in and did a nice job making this a continuing tradition of making this a great organization. I'm looking forward to what they can do here and their new direction."
Miller has been the starting goalie for the Sabres since 2005-06. That season, the Sabres made it to the Eastern Conference Final, where they lost in seven games to the Carolina Hurricanes.
"I think [that run] caught everyone in town by surprise a little bit, so there's that unexpected energy there," Miller said. "It was just nice to see where things were turning back for this organization where you really thought this organization deserved to be with the kind of standing they had with the city and it had been kind of rough for a few years. To bring people back and build the faith back up, even as a young player, we understood what was happening and [were] excited by the possibility of taking that as far as we could go. That was a special moment."
Miller, who can become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, will join a Blues team that is tied for first place in the Central Division with the Chicago Blackhawks and second in the Western Conference.
"It's humbling and flattering that they made that kind of move to bring us with the intention of giving them some help to push for a Stanley Cup," Miller said. "It's good that they think highly of us, and we're excited for the opportunity there. Also it is about the responsibility we have to that organization to show up and get up to speed as hard as we can to live up to the trade, so to speak.
"I'm taking this extremely seriously already. Hopefully it's going to be the kind of situation where everything kind of clicks and we can have some fun."