The Buffalo Sabres are stacking their roster with goaltending talent, but the accumulation of young prospects may be an attempt to prepare for the exit of Ryan Miller.
The Sabres currently have six goalies with pro contracts, with Jhonas Enroth joining Miller on the Sabres roster and Matt Hackett in the AHL's Rochester Americans. They also have three more prospects in waiting --- Connor Knapp, Nathan Lieuwen, and Andrey Makarov.
After the disappointment of two consecutive non-playoff seasons, there has been growing buzz that the Buffalo Sabres will ship off Ryan Miller this offseason. The depth chart at goaltender seems to indicate that's a strong possibility.
The young prospects behind Miller say they can only focus on making the best impression, not whether Miller will be on the roster or not.
"If Ryan Miller's not here, there's going to be another guy," Lieuwen said. "There's always another guy that's going to come and try and take that spot. That's why when you get that opportunity, you've got to prove that you're the best guy.
"Everybody's going to get their opportunity to play, whether it'll be in the American League or wherever it is this year with this organization. When I get my opportunity, I'm going to take it, and I have full confidence that I can do that."
Ryan Miller seems to expect a trade. After the season ended he put his townhouse in Buffalo up for sale, and has been spending more time in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Noureen Dewulf.
There has been speculation that Miller is asking out of the Buffalo Sabres and wants to be on a contending team, but the All-Star goalie says it's not up to him.
"My status, it's really up to [General Manager Darcy Regier] and the direction they're going to go," Miller said. "It's definitely signs of a little bit of a shift in the long-term plan, so I don't know. … Ultimately, it's not going to be up to me. We'll see."
Miller's situation is even more clear given the uncertainty with the Buffalo Sabres. The team fired head coach Lindy Ruff early in the strike-shortened season and have indicated that they are going into a rebuilding phase.