Miller time may soon be up in Buffalo

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller’s outspokenness over his struggling club’s performance this season prompted CBC’s Elliotte Friedman to suggest it may be time for Miller to move on.

The 32-year-old netminder has one season remaining on his contract worth $6.25 million, plus a limited no-trade clause allowing him to list up to eight teams he won’t accept being dealt to.

Given the lack of starting goalies available in the trade market, Miller would attract considerable attention if he were shopped before the trade deadline.

Going that route, however, would signal the start of a significant rebuild for the Sabres, which includes finding a suitable replacement for Miller.

Such a move isn’t likely with the Sabres still within striking distance of a playoff berth more than a month before the deadline. Having recently implemented a coaching change, the Sabres won’t move Miller unless he requests it.

TRADE WINDS FLY AROUND PHILLY

The Philadelphia Daily News reported the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins are interested in Flyers forward Danny Briere, but he’s not interested in them.

Briere told the Daily News he couldn’t see himself playing elsewhere. The 35-year-old has two years remaining on his contract, including a no-movement clause, which he reportedly hasn’t been asked to waive.

It’s believed the Flyers want a puck-moving blueliner. The Daily News claimed they’re interested in Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, while CSNPhilly.com’s Tim Panaccio reported Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien could be on their radar.

It’s unlikely Shattenkirk and Byfuglien are available, but if they are, the asking price could be one of the Flyers young scoring forwards (Jakub Voracek or Brayden Schenn) rather than an aging Briere.

The Flyers are shopping around for a season-saving deal, but they could switch from buyers to sellers if they haven’t gained ground in the standings by mid-March.

SMITH MUST PRACTISE PATIENCE IN DESERT

The ongoing uncertainty over the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation has forced GM Don Maloney to put contract talks with goalie Mike Smith on hold until season’s end.

Smith is earning $2 million this season and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He could earn more than $5 million per season on his next contract with the Coyotes or elsewhere if he tests the free agent waters.

Foxsports Arizona’s Craig Morgan reports there’s little chance of the goalie agreeing to a hometown discount which would satisfy the league.

Despite the uncertainty for Smith and the Coyotes over their respective futures in Arizona, don’t expect him to be shopped this season. The Coyotes are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race and need Smith between the pipes to clinch a berth.

THOMAS RETURN STILL DOUBTFUL

The New York Islanders’ recent demotion of goalie Rick DiPietro led to some speculation Tim Thomas (recently dealt to the Islanders as a salary cap move) might end his self-imposed sabbatical and replace DiPietro.

Agent Bill Zito told the Boston Globe nothing’s changed with his client. Thomas remains in Colorado with his family and undecided over resuming his NHL career.

Rumor Roundup appears weekdays only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).

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