Former Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller announced on Thursday that he will retire following the 2020-21 season, concluding one of the most prolific careers by an American goaltender in NHL history.
Miller, 40, finishes as the all-time winningest U.S.-born goaltender. His 390 wins rank 14th in NHL history, one ahead of fellow Sabres legend Dominik Hasek.
Miller also holds Sabres franchise records in games played by a goaltender (540), wins (284), and saves (14,847). His .916 save percentage with the team is tied for second, behind Hasek.
“It was a dream come true when I played my first NHL game and it has been a privilege to spend 18 years as a professional,” Miller said in a statement released through the Anaheim Ducks. “I have decided that I am going to retire after the season having been given more time doing what I love than I could ever have hoped for. Thank you to you my teammates and staff, past and present. I’m thankful to so many who made my career possible and helped me on my journey from youth hockey to the NHL. Thank you to my family for supporting me with so much love and enthusiasm.”
The Sabres released the following statement:
“The entire Buffalo Sabres organization would like to congratulate Ryan Miller, who was a fierce competitor and one of the best goaltenders in the history of our franchise. His on-ice performance and dedication to our fans has forever endeared Ryan to the Western New York community. Through his Steadfast Foundation and numerous charitable events, Ryan consistently displayed a sincere commitment to Buffalo and was the epitome of what it means to be a Buffalo Sabre.
“Congratulations on an incredible career, Ryan!”
The Sabres selected Miller during the fifth round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. He appeared in a combined 15 games for Buffalo during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons before becoming one of the key figures among a young core that transformed the franchise following the 2004 lockout.
Miller assumed No. 1 duties on teams that went to back-to-back Eastern Conference Finals in 2005-06 and 2006-07, a role he did not relinquish until he was traded to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 28, 2014. In the intervening years, he became a leader on the Sabres, a decorated Olympian, and a dedicated member of the Western New York community.
Miller’s most dominant season came in 2009-10, when he posted a career-high .929 save percentage and a 41-18-8 record to lead the Sabres to a Northeast Division title and capture the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s top goaltender. That same winter, Miller was chosen as Tournament MVP at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver after helping Team USA to a silver medal.
Miller was committed to the Western New York through his Steadfast Foundation and his support of the Courage of Carly Fund at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, earning recognition as the 2009-10 recipient of the NHL Foundation Player Award. The goaltender continued to visit Roswell on road trips as a visiting player and last spring dedicated a portion of proceeds from a used equipment auction to FeedMore WNY and the Buffalo Police Athletic League.
Miller played his last game in Buffalo on Feb. 9, 2020 as a member of Anaheim, a 31-save performance in front of a fanbase that remained appreciative more than six years removed from his last game in a Sabres uniform.
“It’s always kind of a nice flashback coming back here,” Miller told Fox Sports West that night. “I love seeing the people who meant a lot to me over the years. Just, (to) walk in the rink and everyone has a smile on their face is great.
“That’s how it was when we were here and it was a great time. It’s always just a little bit nerve-wracking because you want to perform well. But I love Buffalo so much, it’s kind of an emotional thing.”