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Enroth ‘ready’ to take Sabres starting goalie gig: ‘I want to play more’

May 23, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT

Jhonas Enroth Getty Images

After backstopping Sweden to gold at the recently-completed World Championships, Jhonas Enroth is brimming with confidence.

Just ask him.

“I’m ready,” Enroth told the Buffalo News when asked about inheriting the Sabres’ No. 1 goaltending job. “I’ve been growing a lot. I want to play more. My goal is to be a starter one year in the NHL.”

It’s no surprise Enroth is riding high. He’s fresh off capturing gold and being named both best goalie of the tournament and to the all-tournament team.

Of course, there’s just one thing standing in the way of Enroth taking Buffalo’s No. 1 job at the moment — Ryan Miller.

It’s something the 24-year-old acknowledged.

“Right now Ryan is the starter here,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to take the job from him here, but we’ll see what happens.”

After a decent 2013 campaign — Enroth only played 12 games, compiling a 4-4-1 record with a 2.60 GAA and .919 save percentage — the Swedish netminder stole the show at the Worlds, going 5-2-1 with a 1.15 goals-against average and .956 save percentage, beating the likes of Canada, Finland and Switzerland in the elimination round.

The X-factor in who plays goal for Buffalo next year could be money.

Enroth, a pending RFA, can be qualified for the bargain basement price of $761,250.

Miller — who, at 33, is nine years old that Enroth — is set to make $6.25 million next season.

Miller said he realizes he could be out of town next year, but stressed that anything can happen given current goalie market conditions.

“We get to the draft, and everything’s unpredictable,” Miller said. “I mean, everyone thought Luongo was going to get traded, and look where he is.

“He’s right where he is. … It’s just a weird landscape.”

  1. elemeno89 - May 23, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Although he played a lot better this year, the guy went over a season without winning a game. Just going to say it now that I do not think he’s not ready.

    • krebsy34 - May 23, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      He’s a starting goalie, who needs starting time to flourish. If he gets starting time, I don’t see why he can’t be like an Osgood or any other “undersized” goalies to have had success in the NHL. He is from Sweden and we have seen many successful goalies come from scandinavia recently. If he gets his shot at starting I believe he’ll be able to keep the job. Just look at the run he put together when he started at the end of the season when Miller was hurt (They year they clinched against the Flyers on their second to last season game). If I were coaching, I’d give him starting min. as long as Miller isn’t on the roster.

  2. tdsnbeers - May 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Sabres planning on re-building, no reason to keep miller for the 3 years its going to take. It kills me to say this because miller is one of the top 3 goaltenders in the league and how often do you luck out with a 5th round draft pick turning into such a great goalie like he is. Just the sabres plan on dominating in about 3 years and he will be hitting 36-7 at that time, which could work out to just after his prime.

    Might as well get a 1st and 2nd for him right now..

    • elvispocomo - May 23, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      Miller was a top 3 goalie in the league, just like Luongo. They’ve both dropped with an influx of good goalies, but Miller has dropped farther and isn’t as likely to help a team in desperate need of goaltending if his play this season was any indication. That said, he can still be good for Buffalo in the interim.

  3. elvispocomo - May 23, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Not necessarily a problem with his size, but I don’t think he’s ready for a starting role yet. I certainly don’t think he’s proven it with his play as a backup to be ready to play behind a team with the issues that Buffalo has. Miller stays and they see how it goes this season, although that may change by the deadline.

  4. carthagodelendoest - May 23, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    “Miller — who, at 33, is nine years old”

    I do not agree with this math, Halford.

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