After a brief, disappointing stint in St. Louis, Ryan Miller will hit free agency as the top goalie on the market. As of Sunday, TSN's Bob McKenzie had Miller in Vancouver with the Canucks' brass attempting to lure the 33-year-old north of the boarder. The former Vezina winner never quite found his footing for the Blues, and with St. Louis extending Brian Elliott, it's clear Miller will need a new home this summer.
Why this makes sense
New Canucks GM Jim Benning has furiously been attempting to retool Vancouver's roster since recently coming into the job. But before Benning took over, the Canucks shipped Roberto Luongo to Florida at the 2014 trade deadline, leaving Vancouver without a true No. 1 guy. Eddie Lack ended up playing 41 games over the course of the season, but is lacking (no pun intended) the experience and the talent to really let Vancouver compete right now.
Benning and the Canucks did just use a very high draft pick on goalie Thatcher Demko out of Boston College. While the 18-year-old shows tons of promise as a prospect, he's likely four years away from sniffing the NHL, making Miller the perfect bridge to the future of Vancouver's crease.
Why this doesn't make sense
If Miller really is serving as a bridge, there could be other, cheaper options, like Jonas Hiller. Lack also wasn't bad by any stretch splitting time with Luongo and eventually taking over the job, posting a .912 save percentage, which jumps to .925 in 5v5 situations. So if Vancouver is potentially buying time with Demko, a Lack-Hiller combo, or maybe even a guy like James Reimer who's used to splitting time could be more cost effective.
From Miller's perspective, this a far cry from joining a contender, which was his main objective when Buffalo was shopping him at the trade deadline. He obviously loses most of that leverage in free agency, and can only really play Vancouver against other potential suitors. At first blush, it also appears Benning has the ship moving in the right direction, which could be an encouraging sign if Miller stills values winning pretty high.
Miller makes sense for Vancouver
This actually makes a lot of sense from Vancouver's perspective, even if the team is only looking to buy time for Demko. The Canucks have plenty of cap space to offer Miller a competitive contract, so this one comes in at a solid 7.5 on the likelihood scale.