It’s Miller Time: Why Buffalo’s Ryan Miller Deserves the Vezina Trophy

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It has been a while since a Buffalo Sabre won the Vezina Trophy.

In fact, it’s been almost a decade since Dominik “The Dominator” Hasek took home the trophy awarded to the league’s best goaltender. Since then, the award has avoided Buffalo like the plague.

Ryan Miller, you’re up.

Miller’s outstanding play for Buffalo this season could have him hoisting his first ever Vezina in Las Vegas come June.

Miller, taken 138th overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, is a favorite to win—and with good reason.

He has posted a league-leading .929 save percentage and 2.20 goals against average this season. Although closely followed by Florida‘s Tomas Vokoun (.928), a primary reason Buffalo sits atop the Northeast Division is because of the Michigan State product.

He sits second in GAA to the Boston Bruin’s Tuukka Rask (2.08)—but Rask has played in just 36 games. Miller has given up four or more goals just seven times this season, but has never let in more than five.

He boasts a career-best five shutouts this season, one against Alexander Ovechkin and the red-hot offense of the Washington Capitals. To put it in perspective, the ‘Caps have lit the lamp a whopping 279 times.

When Ryan Miller is hurt or doesn’t play well, the Sabres don’t make the playoffs. Last season, Miller got hurt and the team struggled. In 2007-08, a lack of a good backup made Miller play in 76 games, exhausting him. 

This season, things are different.

He has been, by far, Buffalo’s best player, winning 36 of the 61 games he’s played. When Buffalo’s defense gets beaten, count on Miller to bail them out. When the clock strikes 0:00 of the third period and the game goes into overtime, Miller has eight victories.

With a good grip on the Northeast Division, Head Coach Lindy Ruff can rest Miller more often, letting backup Patrick Lalime get some playing time.

Miller’s stats this season are good—very good. He has become one of the league’s superstars and an American hero after his stellar play for Team USA in the Olympics.

Keep up the good work, Ryan Miller.

You can lead your team to its first ever Stanley Cup victory.

As for the Vezina? You’ve got it locked up.

Read more Buffalo Sabres news on BleacherReport.com

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