NHL: Ryan Miller to the Blues

NHL: Ryan Miller to the Blues

With the trade deadline approaching in the NHL, we as fans are always glued to all of the rumours that swirl around the league prior to the day that is an inevitable disappointment.

There are some huge names out there this year, which has fans salivating at an active day and not a complete waste of many hours of TSN coverage: Martin St. Louis, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Callahan, Ryan Miller.

Well, there will at least be one big trade this year, as Miller and Steve Ott were traded to the St. Louis Blues for Chris Stewart, Jaroslav Halak, a prospect and a couple of picks, including the Blues’ first rounder in 2015 (the Connor McDavid draft).

millerMy thoughts on this trade is that both teams win. The Sabres get a handful of pieces that they can hang on to, or turn around and trade again for more picks and prospects. Buffalo seems to be doing this rebuild thing the right way. They have a ton of first and second round picks in the next two drafts, and this will help them build to a much brighter future. They are not a better team today than they were yesterday, but that’s not what we are expecting them to do, anyways. The players they got back aren’t scraps, as Halak has numbers similar to Miller’s, and has been a pretty solid goalie in the league the past few years. Granted, that was playing behind the Blues’ mighty D, but he’s no slouch in the crease. Stewart is a solid power forward, who has the ability to put up points if he is in the right situation. He was up and down in St. Louis, and I think Buffalo will be a better fit for him, as more will be expected of him.

As for the Blues, many people have argued that getting Miller is only a marginal upgrade over Halak, and if you are purely looking at the numbers, this is true. But the fact is, Miller was playing in Buffalo, where they are simply awful. Now, he is on a strong, contending team, with a stellar defence in front of him (the best in the league, I would argue). He will turn out to be strong for the Blues, and in my mind, is a definite upgrade. If anything, it will give the team some confidence with him back there, something they obviously lacked by trying to get him in the first place. Now the D doesn’t have to be as concerned with making a mistake, because they have a solid stopper to cover up some mistakes.

As for Steve Ott, he is a good depth addition, who makes the Blues even tougher to play against. He is a pest with some offensive upside, and he does well to fill in the void left by Stewart.

The Blues gave up a lot for two guys who could merely be rentals, but for a team that needs to get into the deeper round of the playoffs for the first time in forever, it was a move in the right direction. I am excited to see how Miller does once he settles into his new surroundings, and if this team becomes the true Western powerhouse I believe it to be.

St. Louis was my Stanley Cup pick at the start of the year (beating the Rangers, I figured), and this move does nothing, in my opinion, but help that.

Another beating: Six in a Row

The Oilers got whipped last night by a strong, contending team, showing us once again how far away they are from actually being a competitive team in the difficult Western Conference. The Blues shelled them 6-0, and the worst part for those of you who are unfortunately Oilers fans is that there was a complete lack of effort by the team after the first period.

It looked like they didn’t care, like they were watching the clock just hoping to get the game over and done with.

That lack of compete has been the death of this team all year. Sloppy line changes, weak defense, and a usual brutal goal given up by whichever goalie has the misfortune to play that night. It was ugly. There were a lot of people who were starting to get excited about this team again after they had a 7-3-1 streak; the fact was that this was against poor opposition. In their last six games, against competitive teams, they are 0-6. And generally looked pretty bad while doing it. The almost snuck one out against a napping Ducks team, but overall, the big guys of the West can push around this team to their hearts content. And not fear any repercussion.

Look at how David Backes pushed and shoved the Oilers all over the ice last night. Nobody stepped up to challenge him, so why on earth would he stop?

oilA running joke has been Craig MacTavish and his BOLD moves. So bold, that he is getting conditional 6th round picks for AHL players? How is that bold? When will the organization begin to see that so much is the fault of Kevin Lowe and his poor management of this team, that it trickles all the way down to the scrubs they are putting on the ice night in and night out. Time to look at real trade options. Could they get a definite #1 D for Taylor Hall? Time to explore the possibility. With no real assets on the team (let’s face it, Oiler fans, nobody is lining up to trade for Nail Yakupov, Ales Hemsky, or Sam Gagner, despite the perceived value fans here have placed on those players), it’s time to look at the most valuable players, and see if an actual NHL team could be built by moving them along. Does anyone want to trade one of the better left wingers in the game? Nope. But teams would pay dearly to get him. Multiple pieces is what the Oilers need, since they are definitely not one or two players away from competing. There are a dozen glaring holes. If you can get three roster players for Hall, isn’t that something that needs to be explored?

The Blues showed what a team with depth looks like. A team with size and speed and skill. And toughness. And teams like this will keep beating up on the Oilers until something drastic is done.