x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

The Blues’ move for Miller shows planning with the NHL play-offs in mind

Play-off victims of the Los Angeles Kings the past two seasons, St Louis moved to solve their goalkeeper problems by acquiring Ryan Miller, 33, the US national team keeper.

Buffalo Sabres and national team goaltender Ryan Miller will move to St Louis Blues. Gary Wiepert / AP Photo
Buffalo Sabres and national team goaltender Ryan Miller will move to St Louis Blues. Gary Wiepert / AP Photo

The league’s trading deadline is Wednesday, but a few clubs did not wait for the last day to improve themselves ahead of play-offs.

The St Louis Blues, a strong club for a third successive year, but play-off victims of the Los Angeles Kings the past two seasons, moved to solve their goalkeeper problems over the weekend by acquiring Ryan Miller, 33, the US national team keeper, in a five-player trade with the Buffalo Sabres, who got back prospects.

“Ryan Miller is an all-world goalie who has shown it time and time again,” said the Blues captain David Backes, Miller’s US teammate. “I’ve seen it in a couple of Olympics, where he’s as good as anyone in the business.”

Other well-known players who could move include the prolific winger Martin St Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Ryan Callahan, captain of the New York Rangers.

St Louis is unhappy with the Lightning’s general manager, Steve Yzerman, also the man who chose Canada’s Olympic team and did not include St Louis this year or in 2010. But St Louis will be difficult to move because of a big contract.

Callahan is extremely popular in New York, but his contract expires at the end of the season, and the Rangers might prefer to move him for a return now rather than lose him, as a free agent with no compensation, in the summer.

Odds are, at least one trade will yield a veteran who will be quite useful in the play-offs. The trick is figuring which match of team and player will be the most felicitous.

poberjuerge@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter at SprtNationalUAE