Report: Ryan Miller in Vancouver on Sunday 'being wooed by Canucks' brass'

by Jun 29, 11:10 PM

We get the feeling Vancouver Canucks goalies Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom won't be getting much sleep tonight: 

It's no secret Miller and the Canucks have been talking. And, let's face it, we all want to be wooed. Multiple reports earlier in the week had the two sides touching base, as the free agent interview period began, and you can read more details about that in the post below this one. 

Miller will be 34 in July, and is an unrestricted free agent after wrapping up a six-year, $31.25-million contract he signed as a member of the Buffalo Sabres. He had a .918 save percentage with the Sabres and St. Louis Blues last year, slightly above his .916 career mark. 

Markstrom's 24, and is under contract at a cap hit of $1.2 million. He'll be a restricted free agent at the end of the coming season. Lack, his platoon partner, is 26, and on the books at a cap hit of $1.15 million. He's signed through 2015-16 at that same amount, and will then be an unrestricted free agent. 

After trading Ryan Kesler and Jason Garrison before the NHL draft, and with reports that they're interested in Jarome Iginla, and now with their courtship of Miller, these are certainly interesting times in out west in Vancouver. 

Feature photo courtesy of Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 1, 10:31 AM

McKenzie on Ryan Miller: 'Yes, he'll be a Canuck today, there's no doubt in my mind'

by Jul 1, 10:31 AM

The Vancouver Canucks have two goaltenders on one-way NHL contracts, but are still likely in the market for long-time Buffalo Sabres goaltender and pending unrestricted free agent Ryan Miller. In fact they're the leading candidate to sign Miller, according to TSN's Bob McKenzie.

"Yes, he'll be a Canuck today, there's no doubt it in my mind," McKenzie said during an appearance on the Bro Jake Show on the Team 1040 in Vancouver

Continued McKenzie:

(Miller's contract) probably will be a shorter term deal, not what we get used to on free agent day. [...] I think Ryan Miller recognizes that, at this stage in his career, the way the playoffs went, getting the security of a 4 or 5 year deal is less important than getting an opportunity to be a no. 1 goaltender in the NHL...

If Miller signs in Vancouver, he'd likely share the crease with the talented but inexperienced Eddie Lack. Vancouver also has former top prospect Jacob Markstrom on the books for next season, though Markstrom has yet to prove himself capable at the NHL level. 

Feature photo courtesy of Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 25, 8:16 PM

Report: Canucks reach out to Ryan Miller on 1st day of free agent interview period

by Jun 25, 8:16 PM

On the first day of the free agent interview period, the Vancouver Canucks reached out to Mike Liut - a certified NHLPA agent and former professional goaltender who represents St. Louis Blues netminder Ryan Miller - to express their interest in signing the veteran puck-stopper, according to multiple reports

Miller would reportedly have no issues returning to Vancouver, the setting of his greatest accomplishment - leading Team USA to a silver medal in men's ice hockey at the 2010 Winter Olympic games.

Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the 2014 NHL trade deadline, Miller disappointed in the postseason for the Blues during a first-round playoff ouster. The veteran goaltender had a renaissance season of sorts a year ago, but over the past couple of seasons his even-strength save percentage rates about average among regular NHL goaltenders

A roughly average veteran could make good sense for the Canucks though. Vancouver is only a year removed from employing both Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo, but both players have long since been traded, and the club enters free agency with an untested platoon of young goaltenders in Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom on the roster. 

Will Vancouver, a club that always looks to make the postseason, be content to roll with an untested duo like Lack or Markstrom? Based on their rushing to touch base with Liut on Wednesday, it seems unlikely.

Feature photo courtesy of Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

May 21, 7:44 PM

Report: No interest in Ryan Miller from Sharks, Ducks

by May 21, 7:44 PM

Many NHL players use their free agency period to control their own fate, whether that means moving closer to their hometown or to a Cup contender.

St. Louis Blues goaltender and pending free agent Ryan Miller wants all of these things. He is often linked to California because it is where his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf, works.

However, it seems the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks don't necessarily have any openings for the 33-year-old as Pierre LeBrun explains:

...a source told ESPN.com Wednesday that the Ducks have decided to stick with the kids in net, John Gibson and Frederik Andersen, and do not plan on courting Miller. You can also rule out fellow California club San Jose. The word out of there is that the Sharks are going to continue to focus on their mini-rebuild and it’s about youth for them. Adding veterans players is not in the cards in San Jose.

Miller's hope to have the best of both worlds might not work out.

May 21, 1:05 PM

Ryan Miller's agent says his client wants to sign with a contender

by May 21, 1:05 PM

The St. Louis Blues signed backup goaltender Brian Elliott to a three-year contract extension this week, signalling the end of the short-lived and wildly disappointing Ryan Miller-era in St. Louis. 

Shortly thereafter Blues general manager Doug Armstrong went on the record and was explicit about the club's lack of interest in retaining Miller, who struggled down the stretch and was shaky during St. Louis' first-round series against Chicago.

While it's possible that a team could acquire Miller's rights in a trade before July 1st, all signs point to the star goaltender and U.S. Olympian hitting the open market as an unrestricted free-agent this off-season.

On Wednesday, Miller's agent Mike Liut spoke with Vancouver news radio station News1130 about Miller's priorities in free-agency. High on the list, apparently, is a desire to compete for the Stanley Cup.

Liut added that he wouldn't be surprised to see the Vancouver Canucks tender his client an offer, adding that new Canucks general manager Jim Benning was responsible for originally drafting Miller.

May 19, 1:15 PM

Blues move on from Ryan Miller: GM Armstrong admits 'calculated gamble' didn't pay off

by May 19, 1:15 PM

Tthe St. Louis Blues re-signed backup goaltender Brian Elliott on Monday, a transaction that will officially turn the page on the short-lived, unsuccessful Ryan Miller era in St. Louis.

"Brian will team up next year with Jake Allen to provide our goaltending tandem," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong told Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We're looking forward to those two guys competing and performing well."

The St. Louis Blues paid a high price and sacrificed some offensive punch to acquire Steve Ott and Ryan Miller at the 2014 NHL Trade deadline, a move that was somewhat baffling at the time and obviously didn't pay off for the Blues.

"At the trade deadline, we took a calculated gamble of bringing in Ryan and we didn't have the success that we needed as an organization ... certainly not all reflective on Ryan," Armstrong said. "It's a team game and as an organization we are responsible."

Armstrong added that the terms of the trade, which included a conditional first-round pick were the Blues to re-sign Miller, played a role in the teams internal calculus not to offer Miller a contract. "[There were] additional payments necessary to Buffalo if we signed Ryan," Armstrong explained. "That would have been basically moving back a full round in the draft ... and we just felt at this time, it was better for us to go with Elliott and Jake Allen."

It won't be a surprise if the Blues give Allen a long look as their permanent starter next season. The highly regarded former second-round pick was the best goalie in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves this past season, posting a .928 save percentage and a 33-16-3 record in 52 games.

Apr 28, 9:14 AM

Pending free-agent Ryan Miller on his 1st round performance: 'Not good enough, I guess'

by Apr 28, 9:14 AM

The St. Louis Blues won 52 games this season, loaded up by acquiring Ryan Miller and Steve Ott at a steep price before the NHL trade deadline, and on Sunday night were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round; their lofty expectations unmet. 

The optics of the Game 6 loss, a 5-1 beat down that included four third period goals, couldn't have been worse for Miller - a prized deadline acquisition and pending unrestricted free-agent. For Blues fans and potential Miller suitors, the U.S. Olympian's inability to stop Patrick Sharp's soft backhand in the third period, a goal which gave the Blackhawks a two-goal lead, will surely resonate long into this offseason:

[Courtesy NHL.com]

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock described Sharp's goal as "the backbreaker," but refused to blame Miller's play following Game 6. "He played good for us,” Hitchcock said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I’m sure there are some goals that he’d like to have back, just like any goalie would. But ... we win as a team, we lose as a team. My God, we gave up a breakaway for the third goal and we got seamed on the second goal. That’s not the goalie’s fault. Those are big errors."

Hitchcock's public comments aside, Miller's fingerprints were all over St. Louis' first round elimination. The aging star melted down in his final five regular season starts; his struggles a major reason the Blues were surpassed by the Colorado Avalanche in the standings late in the year. The Blues were forced to face the defending Stanley Cup champions in round one as a result.

The playoffs didn't go much better. Sure, Miller was far from the only issue for a Blues team that predictably struggled to keep up offensively with a Blackhawks juggernaut, but it won't be Miller's agent bringing up his client's brutal postseason save percentage (.897) in talks with interested general managers this summer.

As for the goaltender's future in St. Louis and his plans for this offseason, Miller was inscrutable and played his cards close to the vest on Sunday. "I don’t know,” Miller told reporters. “Just have to take them as they come now. I guess I’m free to go to my sister-in-law’s wedding. That’s about it."

Continued the goaltender, on the topic of potentially re-signing with the Blues: "We’re through with the hockey part now, and we’ll have to see where we’re at, see how they feel about me," he said. “I definitely like St. Louis. Like the guys, like the team, but we’ll see what they feel about the playoffs."

Recent media reports have suggested that Miller might prefer Orange County to the Midwest as a potential free-agent landing spot. How are Ducks goalies performing so far this postseason, anybody know?