May 23, 2013, 11:34 AM EDT
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.”
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