By Budd Bailey, Buffalo Sports Page Columnist

No. 7: February 28, 2014The Sabres trade Ryan Miller and Steve Ott to St. Louis for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a first-round draft choice in 2015, and a third-round draft choice in 2016.

The Sabres had fallen to the bottom of the NHL during the 2013-14 season. They were destined to finish with only 52 points, but along the way they had a major question to answer. Should they keep star goaltender Ryan Miller, who had been the face of the franchise for the past several years, or move him before the trading deadline?

Team president Pat LaFontaine reportedly wanted to re-sign Miller and not let him escape as a free agent. General manager Tim Murray wanted to deal Miller to collect some prospects as part of the rebuilding program. Murray apparently won the argument, as Miller and Steve Ott were shipped to St. Louis for three players and two picks. The Sabres really were starting over in terms of their roster.

But the drama wasn’t over. The next day, LaFontaine – who had appointed Murray to his job in the first place – resigned from the presidency of the Sabres. That left Murray firmly in charge of hockey operations. We still don’t know for sure if LaFontaine resigned his job in protest, or what else might have been involved in that process. And we don’t know what would have happened had Miller and LaFontaine stayed put.

We do know that the new players did little good for the Sabres, that Buffalo finished last in 2014-15 as well, and the franchise still hasn’t played a postseason game since the trade was made. By the way, Miller only spent part of a season in St. Louis, and landed in Vancouver that summer.

(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB)

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has been involved in almost every aspect of the local sports scene for the last 40 years. He worked for WEBR Radio, the Buffalo Sabres' public relations department and The Buffalo News during that time. In that time he covered virtually every aspect of the area's sports world, from high schools to the Bills and Sabres and everything in between. Along the way, Budd served as a play-by-play announcer for the Bisons, an analyst for the Stallions, and a talk-show host. He won the National Lacrosse League's Tom Borrelli Award as the media personality of the year in 2011, and was a finalist for that same award in 2017. Budd's seventh and eighth books, one on the Transcontinental Railroad and the other about Ichiro Suzuki, are scheduled to be released in the fall.

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