Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller will be dispatched back to Vancouver for tests on the lower-body injury he sustained on Sunday night against the New York Islanders, according to a report from TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Miller will miss at least the next two games, and the club has recalled intriguing third-string goaltender Jacob Markstrom from the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League.
In his first year of duty with the Canucks Miller, 34, has managed average save percentage numbers while holding down a workhorse starter’s workload. There’s value, even very nearly $6 million per season worth of value, in employing a durable starter capable of saving an average number of shots in heavy usage.
While Miller’s overall results have been only average, he’s been one of the league’s best regular starters on difficult shots, according to the shot location data found at war-on-ice.com. Where he’s seemed to struggle this year is with some of his technical adjustments, including post integration techniques.
As a result of Miller’s injury expect Eddie Lack to get a lions share of the work for Vancouver.
“Eddie can carry the load going forward if he has to,” Canucks general manager Jim Benning told reporters on Wednesday, by way of the Canucks’ official twitter feed. “Jacob has been outstanding in Utica too. We have great depth at goaltender.”
The situation with Miller’s injury, though far from ideal, will provide the club with an opportunity to evaluate Markstorm, a 23-year-old who has excelled in American Hockey League play this season, at the NHL level. Markstrom has managed a sparkling 17-7-2 record for the Comets, while posting an AHL leading .932 save percentage.
The talented, big-bodied Markstrom has regularly excelled at the AHL level in his young career, but has yet to put it all together and sustain a high level of performance in the NHL. It’ll be interesting to see if some of the work he’s put in with Canucks goalie coaches Rollie Melanson and Dan Cloutier pays dividends now that he’s, reportedly, heading back to the show.