the National Hockey League, fast forward two years and the Canucks were hurting between the pipes with two Swedish goalies with under fifty games of NHL experience combined. Newly appointed Canucks GM Jim Benning realized the gaping hole the Canucks had in goal, and he filled the spot quickly.
Veteran netminder Ryan Miller signed a 3 year, $18 million deal with the Canucks on July 1st, a deal that has the Michigan native signed through 2017 to help the Canucks become a playoff team once again.
There’s a lot of mixed reactions to the deal, partially because most fans believed with the departure of Ryan Kesler, the Canucks were headed for a full-on rebuild. With the Miller signing, it’s apparent that Jim Benning and Trevor Linden still believe the Canucks can be a playoff team with the core group they possess, which a handful of fans would disagree with. Regardless, Miller will add a veteran presence to the team which will be (hopefully) adding a jolt of youth to the roster next season.
Miller has a history in Vancouver, as he was the starting goaltender for Team USA during the 2010
olympics held in Vancouver. Miller was part of the historic gold medal game, allowing the famous Sidney Crosby overtime goal to lift the Canadians above the Americans for the gold medal. Although Miller didn’t quite have the success he wanted to have in Vancouver, he had nothing but good things to say about the city in his introduction interview.
Now, what does this mean for Eddie Lack? The Canucks netminder took over for Luongo at the Heritage Classic, but never had the same success once his veteran counterpart left Vancouver. Regardless, Lack ended the 2013/14 season as the Canucks #1 goaltender and was expected to start next season with the starting job. However, Miller is signed through 2017, meaning Lack will be 30 by the time Miller’s contract is up, which leaves Lack’s role up in the air. As I see it, Lack will push Miller to be at the top of his game, and if Lack emerges as the #1 goalie, you can move Miller to another team, as his contract isn’t horrendous like the last bonafide #1 goalie the Canucks had.
For the Canucks, there will definitely need to be some more additions before they become serious playoff contenders once again, but a veteran netminder is a good start. Not to mention, Miller’s contract allows for a lot of versatility and Jim Benning did a great job of getting the right tenure for the deal. The Canucks still need more offence up front, but the acquisition of Ryan Miller will definitely make an immediate positive impact on the Canucks organization.