FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- While the Sabres are dealing with the onset of more moves at another trade deadline, let's step back for a moment and remember the big deal that led up to the last deadline.
It was one year ago today -- Feb. 28, 2014 -- that Tim Murray pulled off his first big move as the general manager of the Sabres. Goalie Ryan Miller, the face of the franchise for a decade, and captain Steve Ott were sent to the St. Louis Blues for Chris Stewart, Jaroslav Halak, prospect William Carrier and a pair of draft choices, with one turning into a first-round pick this year.
Halak was then flipped to Washington for Michal Neuvirth. Stewart and Neuvirth oddly enough could be in their final hours with the Sabres.
Those who were in First Niagara Center that night remember the events vividly. Murray didn't show up for his 5:30 appointment on WGR Radio, Miller didn't show up on the bench for his pre-warmup visualization session, then Miller weren't on the ice for warmups. Then the trade was announced, with Jhonas Enroth taking over in goal.
Miller and Ott were emotional during a between-periods session with the media and both got tribute videos from the team in the third period. The trade didn't go St. Louis' way, of course, as Miller struggled down the stretch before melting down in the Game Six first-round elimination in Chicago. Miller went on to sign with Vancouver while Ott, who had interest in coming back to Buffalo, never got an offer from the Sabres and took a new deal with St. Louis.
The Sabres finished last season 2-16-2 after the trade and have played 62 games this season. The 82 games equal a full season so Buffalo is 21-54-7 -- for just 49 points -- since Miller and Ott walked out the door. And 10 men -- 10! -- have dressed as goalies since Miller left. That figure includes disaster backups Ryan Vinz and Arturs Irbe and Halak, who served as a one-day backup in Dallas before getting traded to Washington and moving on to become the rock in net for the upstart New York Islanders.
From the archives:
---Miller time expires: John Vogl's main story on the trade.
---Lots of future in it but a sad goodbye -- My column on the wild night.