The trade deadline is approaching fast, and the first big trade was made Friday, between the St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres.
The deal is a blockbuster. Blues get Ryan Miller and Steve Ott, Sabres get Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 first round pick and a 2016 first/third round pick (depending on if Miller stays with St. Louis).
The question we are asking, is who wins this deal?
Let’s take a look at what each side gets:
St. Louis Blues: The main portion of this deal is Ryan Miller, who is one of the top goaltenders in the league. The Blues had decent goaltending, perhaps boosted by a stellar blue line of Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirk, Alex Pietrangelo and crew. But now, they have a top-line if not elite netminder in Miller. One of the hardest teams to score on just got a lot stingier. Also, Steve Ott is a very serviceable grind-it-out forward, with great leadership capabilities and some playoff experience. The Blues got exactly what they needed to become instant Stanley Cup contenders, if they haven’t been already.
Buffalo Sabres: The most obvious fire sale in the league has commenced. We all knew that Ryan Miller was going to go, it just was hinging on the return they could get for him. They got a very good return. Chris Stewart is on the younger side, 26 years old, and has 50 points per season potential. He’s also a bigger, tougher forward who can get to the dirty areas. Jaroslav Halak may not be staying in Buffalo long, because he’s also an expiring contract, but he’s a very solid goalkeeper whether they keep him or not. They also received a prospect and 2 draft picks, and potentially 2 first round picks at that. They are building toward the future, and those picks and players they received in the deal puts together a good return for the Sabres.
Verdict: Both teams accomplished what they wanted in this deal. The Blues got better in areas they desperately needed, and the Sabres got a massive return for a contract they weren’t sure they could retain. Obviously, the Blues win the deal from a now perspective, and the Sabres get a huge boost for their rebuilding process, possibly winning the future portion of the deal. There is no clear cut winner, because both sides really got done what they wanted to.