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Thursday, 22 June 2017 16:47

Why Letting Go of Colin Miller wasn't the Bruins Best Move

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The Boston Bruins lost a valuable piece of their defensive core when they put former Bruins D Colin Miller on the unprotected list on Sunday. As a result, the Las Vegas Golden Knights selected Miller in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft Wednesday night.

 

    This past season, all Bruins faithful including media, fans, and the base of the organization can agree the reason why this team didn't take off in the 2017 NHL Playoffs is because the lack of depth in their defensive core. Wednesday night, that lack of depth took another hit.

The B’s kept defenseman Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, and Kevan Miller on their protected list going into the Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft going into Thursday night. The question is were those the right moves? You could say they were as you have young studs in D Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy to brighten up this defensive front going into the 2017-18 campaign.

But the thing is Miller has only played 100 career NHL game, and with his upside as being an actual threat as a offenseive-defensive threat did the Bruins lose someone who has the potential to be something special in this league?

            This is not to say that Colin Miller is the next Eric Karlsson or Keith Seabrook, or anything that crazy. Last season, you saw that once Claude Julien was fired and Miller started to get more ice time under Bruce Cassidy, you could kind of see what had kept the previous coach from dressing Miller on a nightly basis. The work he could perform with the puck on his stick was at times masterful; what he did the rest of the time was quite often questionable.

Miller, was without a doubt was the best skater among Bruins blue-liners and ranked second among Bruins D-men in even-strength goals, the Bruins clearly thought he had flaws to his game and was not the complete package.

            As a defenseman, the defense was often lacking in Miller’s game. He often skated himself out of position, and at the NHL level, that’s going to lead to problems more often than not. That was the difference between both Miller's, Kevan contributes in such a gritty kind of way with his physicality and his positioning in the defensive zone. 

            But of course, Miller is just 24 years old. He’s been moderately decent at the NHL level while displaying loads of upside, especially early on in his minor league career. The newly acquired Golden Knight also had a 2014-15 season with 62 points in 81 AHL games as well as a 62-point output in 60 games in his final OHL season. Players don't always translate there minor league stats to the NHL, but it definitely shows the potential and upside that a player like Miller can make to a team like Las Vegas that is going to have a tough time putting the puck into the net as a first-year expansion NHL franchise.

The biggest question when the Bruins announced their unprotected/protected list was why Kevan Miller, but not Colin Miller? While some spectators in the region point to the latter half of his season and his postseason performance as evidence that Colin Miller is a valuable asset, the reality is that his performance was only being compared to his own previous performances. He was better than he had been definitely, but all that does is make him better than the Kevan Miller of old. It does not make him better than, say, 15 or 20 other available defensemen in the expansion draft, it was just way to small of a sample size to even compare or make a rational decision on the player he will eventually become.

Miller came to the Bruins when they traded Milan Lucic in 2015 for Martin Jones, Colin Miller and a pick that turned into Jakub Zboril. Just two years later, the Bruins only have Zboril to show for it. Zboril had a nice third season in the QJMHL this past season, but he’s anything but a known commodity as far as being an NHL defenseman so you can already call that a loss for the B's in terms of the overall trade. 

Miller at just 24-years old played 61 games for the Bruins this past season while registering six goals and seven assists. It is not guaranteed that he stays with the Golden Knights, Miller could be dealt if the asking price is right. It is rumored that the Maple Leafs are interested in his services, and as a young offensive-defensive defenseman I'm sure more teams will be in the running as well.

Adam Nazzaro

My name is Adam Nazzaro, but call me Nazz. I am a graduate of Plymouth State University (Communications). I currently work at WFXT Fox25 Boston as a Production Assistant, and also contribute to Scout.com as a writer. Throw me an idea and I will make it a masterpiece, throw me in the fire and i'll come out with ice.

 

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