Potential trade target: Colin Miller

As the search to improve the blue line continues, there are going to be options outside of Jacob Trouba. The first potential target that comes to mind is Colin Miller in Vegas. Miller, who was taken by Vegas in the expansion draft from Boston, is entering the second year of a four year deal that comes with a $3.875 million cap hit. The 26-year-old RHD thrived in Vegas initially, putting up 10-31-41 in his first year, but fell backwards this year at just 3-26-29 in 65 games.

Miller was one of Vegas’ better defensemen last year, even with the down year on the scoreboard. He put up a solid xGF% at 56.77%. When you look at his 51% GF% and his PDO of .991, it looks like Miller was more a victim of bad luck this year, as evidenced by his 2.3% shooting rate, almost more than half of his career average of 4.9%. His xGF/60 was a respectable 2.62 and his xGA/60 was a solid 2.00, so it’s not like he’s a liability at either end of the ice either.

Vegas appears to want to move on from Miller, which is a little puzzling given his first year in Vegas. One down year on the score sheet is usually not enough to warrant a divorce, especially when he was still solid overall. But there’s a lot of weird Kool Aid being drank around the league lately. He was a healthy scratch for a bit, but as we’ve seen with basically every coach ever, there’s a lot more to a healthy scratch than just “he couldn’t crack the lineup.”

Perhaps the driving factor here is Vegas’ impending cap crunch. They are already over the projected $83 million cap ceiling and William Karlsson needs a new contract, likely to cost them $6 million or more. A lot of this is offset by David Clarkson’s cap hit going back to LTIR, but it doesn’t leave Vegas with much wiggle room.

With Trouba being the most popular target, it makes sense to compare the two, since Miller will likely cost significantly less than Trouba. The latter is easily the better player offensively and from a possession driver standpoint, but Miller isn’t exactly deficient here. He’s good, while Trouba is excellent. However Miller is the better zone-entry defender, and it’s really not even close. In Miller, the Rangers would be getting a significantly more well rounded defenseman than Trouba, but would be sacrificing offense.

With Tony DeAngelo in the mix as one of the best transition offensive defensemen in the game today, the Blueshirts may not need a huge burst of offense to be added to the blue line. Stability is key, and Miller actually provides more of that over Trouba at less salary/commitment and what will likely be significantly less trade cost.

Show More
  • I really like the idea of landing Miller. With Fox in the mix as well our need is more for a solid defender than an offensive D man. He is a good balance of both. Maybe a bigger deal that includes Reaves . Helping with the cap space and all. There’s definitely a fit.

    Congrats to The Blues!

    • The only trade I am making is a two-for-one swap where we get rid of some quantity from the guys on the bubble. That would be Vesey, Nieves, Pionk, Smith, Claesson, etc. I’d trade two of them for a good draft pick but dealing our picks is not allowed!!!

      I have not given up on Anderson, Howden or any of the young guys – way too early for that. I’d also like to see Lemieux in his first camp with some upgraded talent around.

      Certainly you are always looking to upgrade – but we have tooooo many defensemen as it is, so if you can get rid of two of them, to get one that is better, I am all in.

  • I like Miller, love DeAngelo, but that piece on DeAngelo as the best transition D man in the league is based on a tiny sample size and despite its claim to not be hyperbole – it’s hyperbole. That being said, Miller at his term and price is a really good fit providing we can unload some of our defensive baggage.

  • A bit off topic.
    Congratulations to the Blues. What a series! And anyone who didn’t understand the ‘it takes all five skaters to play defense’ concept surely does after last night’s game. Boston was a juggernaut and the Blues never lost their defensive structure. So for everyone that thinks Lias Andersson is a bust and Howden should be used in a trade because neither stood out offensively should have taken notice of the Blues fowards in last nights game.

    • Well said Jerry. There are many ways to construct a team and many style philosophies that win, but the common factor of Cup teams are cohesion and 5 man units playing in unison. Structured, disciplined teams raise the Cup. The Blues were the ultimate sum greater than the parts champion.

  • Given a choice Trouba is my man. If that can’t happen, Miller makes so much sense for this team. His game is better defensivly, and the need to start shutting down people is long overdue. I would be in favor of this move, and the cost to keep him, vs signing Jake will be like day and night.

    Congratulations to the Blues, that was one hell of a series between two huge teams. The bodies flying around, and the guts shown by Chara, just too much. These are the type of team I want us to be, big, strong, hard to play against, and the puck movement by Boston was out of this world. Special shout out to ROR, guy gave his all!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Watching Stanley Cup games, and the style you have to play to win is mesmerizing. No move uncontested, every check finished. These Blues were in last place in January, but they turned around their game, and got big games from many players. Your forwards have to be strong and your defensemen relentless.

      After watching the game, you see how far we have to go to be “that good”. It is not a 1 or 2 player tweak. Many of the players are nameless, but they all played at the top of their game. I think DQ is going to continue to get effort out of our guys, so now all we need to do is up the talent level.

  • Miller should only be considered if a defenseman goes the other way We have so many kids chomping at the bit, we need to create openings on the blueline. As for a quality, fair priced defenseman, he fits that mold.

    I know we need to upgrade the blueline, so this is a minor upgrade.

    AD best transition D man? Really?

    • Actually he said ONE of the best — and watching the kid play now for a year plus I have to agree that he has that level of talent. If there’s any issue with Tony it’s his defensive work, although I think that’s legitimately debatable and one can make an argument that it’s more than adequate.

  • As a New York transplant living in Boston, last night was beautiful.

    Oh and Colin Miller is a perfect fit and exactly the type of player the Rangers should be targetting.

  • Miller is a nice player, with a decent cap hit, probably a very good fit on the right side for many teams. But we have so much to sort out on our own blue line that, right now, he just doesn’t make sense. Between lousy contracts, potential buyouts and young players that need time he just adds to the present confusion. Plus… Friedman says Vegas ain’t giving him away either.

  • Again, everything should be contingent on our ability to move some combination of Shattenkirk and/or Staal and/or Smith … along with Pionk — we need to start with subtraction before engaging in addition for the back end.

      • Yeah, but I don’t believe in buyouts unless you tie yourself to a tree trunk, get doused with honey and get introduced to a bear. I still don’t bye Brooks’ article, I think there’s some value in a 50% retained salary Shattenkirk and Smith — but I don’t expect to see many trades of this ilk happening until AFTER free agency opens up.

        • As I said in another thread, I also believe that Shattenkirk’s value is suppressed by his injury and relatively weak year following. IF he can get off to a good start, I think his value may greatly increase. It isn’t absurd to hope that, at half retained salary, he could net a first at the trade deadline.

          Simply tossing an asset that may go up significantly in value is crazy.


          Smith is very different. Cap-wise overall, you save almost nothing by buying out Smith (as opposed to stashing him in Hartford). Mostly you just move the hit from this year, when it doesn’t matter much, to later years, when it does.

          I actually don’t like the retained salary Smith option. If you are planning to go this route with Shattenkirk, since Spooner is already retained salary, you only get one more this year (including the trade deadline). Using it on Smith means not using it on Staal, Lundqvist, Kreider, or anyone else. I don’t expect any particular individual case to come up, but there are lots of possibilities. As we saw with the Zuccarello deal, it helps to be able to retain salary even for a player that someone really wants because it solves their cap problem and they pay more.

          And the payoff is small — saving half of Smith’s not massive salary versus saving one quarter by simply stashing him in Hartford. Little over a million a year.

          • I tend to think of Smith as the last of the 4 d’men I want to trade because of his ability to play on a 4th line.

            Staal is number 1 on my list because 1) he plays on the left side, and 2) injuries have made him a shell of the d’man he once was (and the way the game is now being played only makes his eye injury even more impactful). Unfortunately his NMC will make it difficult to move him, unless he desires it.

            I rate Shattenkirk next, although I acknowledge what you’re saying about his value possibly going up — but my fear is that he had plenty of time to get over his injury (a whole summer) and/or that he just gets injured again. If there’s a decent deal out there I say grab it and don’t look back.

            3rd and 4th on my list are virtually interchangeable. Pionk doesn’t save us money, just space — my hesitation is his age, in a 3rd pairing situation he might be OK … and there’s still time for him to improve. Smith saves money, but we lose his versatility — I don’t see sending him down to hartford as a real option unless he shows up next season and plays like his first full season with the club — hell, he might not even clear waivers to be honest. If he has a similar season to last year he might have some significant value at the trade deadline as well.

            In any event using one 50% retention on a d’man, preferably Staal or Shattenkirk doesn’t bother me — that still leaves us with one 50% for either Hank or Kreider — although Kreider at $4.625m may not require any retention if we take back a $2m player, he should be easier to trade at his cap hit. In the alternative Kreider is someone I would like to see the rangers sign, preferably 5 years around $30m.

          • I wasn’t arguing for not trading Shattenkirk. As you say, his value can either go up or down.If you can get a good deal, why not? My point was simply don’t buy out a player who may have high value down the road.

            As for Smith, a waiver claim on a player you are thinking of buying out to escape the cap hit is a win. As for sending Smith to Hartford, I view it as a simple objective decision. The Rangers likely will carry 20 skaters. Is he one of the twenty that they want to carry. If the Rangers are forced to carry Shattenkirk and Staal and wish to carry DeAngelo, Fox, Hajek, Skjei, and some new addition, they likely won’t want Smith as the seventh defensemen. He may still be one of the preferred 13 forwards, or he may not be.

            Pionk is a different issue. Does he have trade value? I don’t know. The Rangers should definitely test the market. If they keep him, they need to be willing to send him to Hartford if he doesn’t earn his spot. And that means waivers. Today, I suspect he would be claimed. But if the Rangers shop him and are unsuccessful, the likelihood of a waiver claim goes down, especially on a one way contract.

  • Isn’t Miller a third pair right defenseman who plays on the power play? Among the seven defensemen Vegas primarily used this year, he was sixth in TOI per game on the PK (Theodore almost never played on the PK), less than half of anyone in the top five. On the PP, he was one of the the three who got nearly all the ice time – his 2:23 second to Theodore’s 2:25.

    Even if he is good ——- we would want such a player , why?

      • I certainly hope they do this. He costs nothing in assets and little in salary. If they don’t need him, he likely has at least some trade value — and in the worst case scenario, if you don’t need him and can’t trade him, you ship him to Hartford. If he gets claimed on waivers, you are just back where you would have been if you had not signed him at all.

  • The Blues played defense as a team. The Rangers have hardly done that since Torts left town. I’d argue for finding the right defenders out of all the people the Rangers already have or are about to have, and concentrate on the forwards. I don’t think they have to spend big on defensemen at this juncture.

  • Karlsson will solidify our backend in a hurry. Forget Panarin, trade CK for Trouba and buy Karlsson and we immediately have a legit defense. Get Miller and Fox together then Stall and Hajek. Everyone else is expendable.

  • imagine NY does nothing. no trades at the draft. No free agent signings. no buyouts. Sign the RFAs… and just be done with it.
    They simple go into next season with the Kakko, Fox and the Russians.

    I wonder how that would be received?

  • Back to top button