Chicago Blackhawks Trade Speculation: Can Stan Bowman Trade for Ryan Miller?

Matt BauerCorrespondent IIJanuary 5, 2012

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Ryan Miller #30 of the Buffalo Sabres skates out after the game against the Ottawa Senators at the First Niagara Center on November 11, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Buying low and selling high is the best way to attempt a trade in a professional sport, and Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman can do just that, right now, with Buffalo Sabres netminder Ryan Miller.

Miller hasn't had his best season for the Sabres this year, but now is the time to pounce and acquire the 31-year-old Michigan native.  Miller's backup Jhonas Enroth has emerged for Buffalo this season, stopping 92 percent of the shots he's faced and allowing less than 2.5 goals-per-game.

I've always defended Hawks goalie Corey Crawford—whether I convince myself or others that it's not always Crawford's fault when he struggles and it's on the defense too, and that may or may not be the case—but Ryan Miller is one of the NHL's best goalies.

We're talking about the Ryan Miller that led Team USA to a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.  It's no gold medal, but it's a silver medal at the Olympic Games.  That's quite the résumé builder.

Crunching the Numbers

When the 2011-12 season began, the Hawks had $3.875 million available from the NHL's salary cap of $64.3 million.  Then Rostislav Olesz was waived, freeing up another $3.125 million, increasing the Hawks available cap space to $7 million.

The Hawks already have enough cap space to acquire Miller without any other transactions.  Ryan Miller's annual cap hit is $6.25 million until he becomes a free agent prior to the '14 season.

Keep in mind, Daniel Carcillo is suspended for seven games for the hit he delivered to Edmonton Oilers' Tom Gilbert, and Carcillo may be out longer depending on how severe the knee injury he sustained while laying that hit on Gilbert.

Depending on the severity of Carcillo's injury, it may be in the Blackhawks' best interest to release him, being that he's hurt the Hawks more than he's helped as of late.

Releasing Carbomb would free up an additional $775,000 from the Hawks' salary cap.

Let Stan Bowman Do His Thing

It's not too often a Stanley Cup-caliber team has the opportunity to improve its goaltending mid-season from outside of its organization, but this task isn't out of the question for Stan Bowman and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Since winning the Stanley Cup in '10, the Hawks have acquired a plethora of young talent that's stored away in Rockford to provide Buffalo with a legitimate deal to bring Ryan Miller to the Windy City.  There are also a number of expendable players currently on the Hawks' NHL roster who could top off such a deal, such as Viktor Stalberg, Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik, to name a few.

The Hawks have showcased a number of prospects throughout the first half of the season, and with injuries swelling, there's going to be more prospects coming up to the NHL to make the most of the time the Hawks give them.

Stan Bowman has already architected one Stanley Cup team in '10, and this is the year he can do it again.
Stan Bowman has already architected one Stanley Cup team in '10, and this is the year he can do it again.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Trading Miller to the Blackhawks could revitalize his season, and provide that jump-start he's been lacking all year.

Miller hasn't made it out of the first round of the playoffs since the '07 season.  This current Blackhawks team not only has the ability to do that, but it can hoist the Stanley Cup at season's end.

If the season ended today, Buffalo would be watching the playoffs from home.  Why not rebuild a bit?  The Hawks have plenty of young talent, as well as players with NHL experience to replace Ryan Miller.

Ryan Miller would be quite the complement to the Hawks' explosive skaters.


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