Buffalo Sabres: The Year of the Backup


Flashback to February where the Sabres were hosting the Rangers at HSBC Arena, and winning 4-0 in the third period when New York’s Scott Gomez runs behind the net, “accidentally” running into Miller.

Miller hobbled around a bit, until he was carried off by trainers to the Sabres’ dressing room. It would turn out Miller would sustain a high left ankle sprain and would end up missing about four weeks which during that time the Sabres went 3-8-1.

Patrick Lalime, who took over for Miller on his absence, went 5-13-3. When Miller came back, the team finished off the year 7-2-1. Miller is the obvious answer for the starting job here in Buffalo, but with possible injuries next year, a backup shouldn’t just be some random guy anymore.

While looking at some upcoming free agent goaltenders, I noticed that there were many low paid goalies who could carry a bit of the load for Miller next year.

Brent Johnson from Washington could be a good fix if we can sign him. He isn’t a cap hit at only 825,000. Last year for Washington, he went 12-6-1, with a .908 save percentage.

Another guy I look at is Ty Conklin. He played on the Sabres about three years ago, and would definitely help Miller out. He is cheap at 750,000, but is probably looking for a starting role somewhere as he played in over 35 games last year.

One other guy the Sabres should look at is Craig Anderson, who appeared in 27 games last year for Florida going 15-7-5. He is cheap as well, and if Florida opts not to re-sign him, the Sabres might target him. Also, Buffalo Sabre’s prospect Jhonas Enroth would benefit if he played in about five games this year.

Any way you see it, the Sabres need to acquire a backup goaltender this offseason who can carry a bit of Miller’s work load, appearing in 15-20 games with a record above .500.

Should Miller go down again, the management better be ready to throw in the right guy.

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