Whether or not Ryan Miller comes back to be the Canucks goaltender next season, he might just be in line for his most successful season ever. No, I haven’t been drinking and I don’t have any inside track to any trades the Canucks are about to make that would instantly catapult them up the standings. Miller is 37 years old this year and looking back to another American goaltender who had great success when he turned 37 is Tim Thomas, and he did some stuff.
For starters, I hate Tim Thomas. I don’t know if it is/was because he was such a stingy goalie or that he was so arrogant towards the Canucks or that he has a Stanley Cup and just basically left hockey. It all drives me crazy but one thing is for sure: his stats were real good that year, like Willie D “really good”.
So in 2010/2011, Thomas put up a solid 2.00 GAA and a .938 SA%. The season prior, he put up a 2.56 GAA and .915 in the SA% category. There were a few factors that contributed to that big season like Patrice Bergeron, Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara and super-pest Brad Marchand. Now, the difference between Thomas’ 09/10 season and Miller’s 2016/17 season is that Miller isn’t coming off a Vezina year.
Miller also has a catastrophic 2.80 GAA this year and it probably would take a miracle to get in the 2.00 range, like adding Drew Doughty and Damon Severson for starters. That isn’t happening as far as I know. What’s to say that Miller couldn’t just tear it up next year?
It’s not a sure thing he’s coming back to Vancouver but he has found his groove and honestly, if he had any semblance of a defensive unit in front of him, he could actually put up some serious stats.
Could the unthinkable happen?
If Miller does come back, this entire theory goes out the door. He has two NHL caliber defenders in front of him and that isn’t good enough to keep the puck away from the goal line. This is, of course, thinking Luca Sbisa is gone. He has given everything he has for the team and if he was able to play maybe 10-15 fewer games next year, he might actually do OK.
With three years in the books, Miller has built a rapport with the guys in front of him and it would be a great time to capitalize on that time. There won’t be a Cup if he stays but he could help the team stay above water while Thatcher Demko prepares himself.
Believe it or not, Miller’s tenure in Vancouver hasn’t even been his busiest. He could end up facing the 7th most shots in his career when this one is over. Last season was Miller’s only other Canuck campaign that would rank in the top-10. As far as goals go, this would be his 6th best season for GA. Father time has been good to Mr. Miller and a “defense first” system (can’t believe I’m writing that) along with finding a rhythm in net has helped him succeed personally.
As I said before, Thomas had a pretty successful 2011 season and if Miller is able to either find a team that can utilize his hot hand without burning him out or at the very least get some forwards on the Canucks that can keep the puck at the other end of the rink, he could be in line for his best season to date.
What Ryan needs to do is re-sign in Vancouver, get a new mask or just simply the same one but silhouetted black-out, same with his gear and he becomes our black knight. A goalie’s presence with just his gear is something to behold, see: Roberto Luongo. The new NHL jerseys will be released before next season and like the BC Lions came out with their RoboCop looking uniform, so could Miller and he would take no prisoners.
These are some pretty shaky parameters but it’s possible that Ryan Miller is saving some of his best hockey for the end of his career. Seems a bit far fetched but weirder things have happened.
I moved out of my parent’s basement and now I’m doing this from my OWN basement.
photo – twitter.com