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Numbers Game: Canucks sign goaltender Miller

Scott Cullen
7/1/2014 10:39:35 PM
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The Vancouver Canucks have had quite a ride with goaltending in recent years and attempted to solve the problem by signing the number one free agent puck-stopper.

Numbers Game looks into the Canucks signing Ryan Miller.

The Canucks Get: G Ryan Miller.

Miller, 33, was having a terrific season in Buffalo, posting a .923 save percentage in 40 games before he was traded to St. Louis. From there, Miller struggled down the stretch, with aa .903 save percentage in 19 regular season games before an .897 save percentage in the first-round playoff loss to Chicago.

That finish might have dimmed his star somewhat, but Miller has a repuation earned with a save percentage of .919 over the past five seasons, during which no one has registered more saves than Miller's 8278.

That rep isn't everything, though. Miller is a 33-year-old who last made it out of the first round of the playoffs in 2007 and his .925 even-strength save percentage over the past four seasons ranks 22nd out of 43 goaltenders to play at least 4000 5-on-5 minutes.

Following their abrupt playoff departure, the Blues changed their goaltending approach, retaining Brian Elliott with the expectation that they would add prospect Jake Allen to the tandem for next season.

Whether Miller is at the peak of his game isn't necessarily the point though, because he's an upgrade in net for Vancouver; more proven than Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom, and that's what matters for the Canucks over the next three seasons. If they are going to remain competitive for at least a few more seasons, then the Canucs can't be stumbling around with question marks in goal, hoping that it will work out.

New Canucks GM Jim Benning was instrumental to the Buffalo Sabres' decision to draft Miller in 1999, so it's not altogether surprising that Benning would turn to Miller to help the Canucks now.

Miller doesn't guarantee success for the Canucks, but if he can provide at least average, or ideally above-average, goaltending, then the Canucks have had good enough possession numbers to compete for a playoff spot if they get decent goaltending.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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