Miller-gate

By now, fans are well aware of the controversy that Ryan Miller is surrounded by. One look at the stats would suggest that Miller has been off .


GS

W

L

OTL

GAA

SA

Sv %

SO

Shootout-SA

…-Sv%

Ryan Miller   9 4 5   0   2.48  255  .922   1       0       0

Having watched all the games though, I tend to disagree with people who think that he’s been struggling. In his three of the his five losses this season, the team has averaged 1.33 goals scored per game. Where is the blame for the offense during those losses? I can also recall during those three losses that Miller was pretty much left to fend for himself with regard to the goals that were scored on him. On the other hand, in the other two losses, the Sabres lost 4-3. I would have liked to have seen Miller find a way to snag one of those games for his team after they gave him three goals to work with.

So having said all that, the question you’re probably wondering is where do I stand on Ryan Miller? I think he has been good, not great and that this idea that he’s been struggling is erroneous and reeks of sensationalism. He has it in him to get back on track and be an elite goalie. We all saw that he still has that kind of game in him earlier this year against Montreal.

I want you to take a look the stat line for this mystery goalie.


GS

W

L

OTL

GAA

SA

Sv %

SO

Shootout-SA

…-Sv%

????  10  4   3   3  2.27  322 0.929  1       5 .600

It’s pretty similar to Miller’s right? You don’t hear a lot of people being irrational about this guy’s play though. This particular stat line belongs to Henrik Lundquist and it just so happens that backup goaltender, Marty Biron is 3-0-0 with a 0.95 GAA. Rangers fans aren’t clamoring for Biron to start though. They know that Lundquist will turn things around and that Biron’s been very good, but that those numbers aren’t the norm for him.

Speaking of the norm, take a look at Jhonas Enroth’s numbers in the AHL.

SEASON

TEAM

GP

W

L

T

OTL

SO

GA

SA

Sv%

GAA

2008-09

PORTLAND PIRATES

58

26

23

6

3

157

1,676

.910

2.75

2009-10

PORTLAND PIRATES

48

28

18

1

5

110

1,350

.919

2.37

2010-11

PORTLAND PIRATES

41

20

17

2

0

111

1,148

.912

2.78

Total

147

74

58

9

8

378

4,174

.914

2.63

Those stats are pretty pedestrian as far as goaltenders go. The numbers he put up in 147 games in the AHL as a starter are much more indicative of how Enroth will play as a starter in the NHL than the 15 games he has actually played at that level. Goaltenders in general do take a while to develop though, so it’s possible that he’ll be able to put things together and put up better numbers in the NHL than he did in the AHL at some point, but we need to see how Enroth plays in more games before jumping to any conclusions.

There are fans out there who want to trade Miller for some mythological upgrade now instead of waiting things out though. The rationale for this argument is that good goalies are a dime a dozen and since Enroth has been so good in this early stretch of the season, the team would be better served moving Miller for a top flight player and snagging a cheaper goalie to back-up the young, up-and-comer, Enroth. There is a massive hole in this line of thinking. For starters, if good goalies are a dime a dozen, then why would any team give up a top player on their to only marginally improve in goal? The other thing is that this team isn’t as good as those Detroit, Chicago, or Philadelphia teams that went to the Stanley Cup finals with cheapo goaltenders. Finally, what if Enroth’s numbers ended up looking like his numbers as a starter in the AHL? I’m guessing fans wouldn’t be too happy about that. I’m thrilled about how good Enroth has played so far, but some fans need to just pump the breaks a bit.

The overall point that I’m getting at here is that this team finally has two good goalies that they can lean on that and I think we as fans should all be happy with that. Why do some fans want to throw the baby out with the bathwater 13 games into the season? With this Miller-Enroth tandem, Buffalo is going to have a chance to be in every game they play and having a good back-up will lighten Miller’s workload and keep him fresher for the playoffs as well. My suggestion is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the great goaltending. There might come a time when there will be a legitimate discussion about having Enroth take over for Miller and moving him in a trade, but it’s certainly not now.

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