VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Vancouver Canucks have signed goalie Ryan Miller to a three-year contract at $6 million per year.
News1130 Sports Director Ann Schmaltz says she’s surprised at the amount of money and time involved in the deal. “I thought that Miller was looking for more like two years. But I guess he wants to be locked into a longer contract.”
Miller was seen as the best goalie on the free-agent market this year. While the 33-year-old is a veteran, Schmaltz hesitates to call him a “winner.”
“He did not have playoff success with the Buffalo Sabres for the number of years that he played there. Then he was traded at the deadline this past March to the St. Louis Blues and they were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Blackhawks,” she explains.
“But Vancouver fans will remember him significantly because he was that silver medal winning goaltender at the 2010 Olympics, when Canada took gold in overtime,” she points out.
Schmaltz thinks the team was looking for was a veteran presence to complement Eddie Lack.
“Lack, as well as he held his own last year, he still has some ways to go in proving if he can handle the pressure and if he actually is a winning goaltender,” she explains.
In 59 appearances split between the Sabres and Blues, Miller posted a 25-30-4 record with a .918 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average.
I’m so happy to join the @VanCanucks. What a great day! They keep telling me it’s always this sunny here.
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller3039) July 1, 2014
— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) July 1, 2014
The Canucks’ goaltending situation has been one of the most talked-about topics in the NHL over the past few seasons. In 2013, after many months of Roberto Luongo trade speculation, the team decided to keep Luongo and instead sent Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth-overall pick at last year’s draft. The Canucks eventually pulled the trigger on a Luongo trade, sending him and a prospect to the Florida Panthers for goalie Jacob Markstrom and centre Shawn Matthias.
Markstrom and Eddie Lack are also under contract with the Canucks, but neither has proven to be a steady No. 1 option at the NHL level yet.
In May, new Canucks GM Jim Benning told Sportsnet 590 The Fan he would still be open to signing another goalie. Benning served as a scout with the Buffalo Sabres when the team drafted Miller in 1999.