Who is this guy?
Born: July 17, 1980 in East Lansing, Mich.
Ryan Miller was acquired by the Canucks through free agency last summer, signing the veteran goalie to a three-year, $18 million deal. It's clear Vancouver wasn't crazy about Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom as the options between the pipes, so they went out and brought in a true No. 1 goalie.
What'd he do?
Miller appeared in 45 games with a record of 29-15-1. He had a GAA of 2.53 with six shutouts and a save percentage of .911. According to Hockey-Reference.com, Miller had 23 "quality starts" (starts with higher SV% than season average, or SV% of at least 88.5% when facing 20 shots or less). So roughly about half of his starts were considered quality. Compare that to his best year in 2009-10 with Buffalo when about 70 percent of his starts were considered quality.
Miller went down on February 22 against the New York Islanders after a collision with Jannik Hansen. An MRI revealed a sprained knee, and Miller didn't return until the last game of the regular season against the Oilers. Miller gave up five goals in that game, but the Canucks managed to provide enough offense to finish the regular season with a win.
After Eddie Lack got the start in the first four games of the playoffs against Calgary, Ryan Miller was called upon in the second period of Game 4 after Lack gave up three goals on seven shots. Miller did all he could, bringing the Canucks to Game 6, but let by five goals after the Canucks jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Vancouver's season came to another early end.
So was he any good?
While Miller wasn't always on his A-game, he provided the Canucks with something they've long needed, a role as the true No. 1 goalie. No controversy (at least until the playoffs) meant Vancouver could get back to focus on winning games rather than deal with more drama between the pipes.
Miller's six shutouts during the regular season ranked 4th in the league while his 29 wins ranked 16th. Consider the fact that 25 of those wins came by the end of February, and that it's likely Miller would've ranked among the league leaders in wins for the year.
The Canucks needed a true No. 1 goalie this year, and that stability Miller provided while he was healthy was part of what made him so valuable to this team. Do we all love Eddie Lack? Of course. But Miller is the No. 1 guy in Vancouver, whether the fans like it or not.
What'd we like?
Cool. So what'd we hate?
You know the old saying, "When it rains it pours." That pretty much describes Ryan Miller in a nutshell. When he has a bad game, things usually get pretty ugly. In his 15 losses this year, he gave up four or more goals eight times, leading to a GAA of 2.53 which ranked him 27th in the league.
Last year, a lot of Vancouver's losses could be attested to the fact that the offense couldn't score to save their lives.
So what now?
No, Ryan Miller is not going to get traded. Canucks GM Jim Benning said that Miller wouldn't be moved this offseason, so expect him to be back in net as the No. 1 goalie when the fall rolls around. Miller has two more years left on his deal with the Canucks, so we'll see where he's at in his career when that contract comes to an end. Miller will be 36 years old when his contract is up, so one might think that would be a likely timeframe for a younger goalie to step in and take the reins, whether that be Eddie Lack or Jacob Markstrom.