Speaking with TSN 1040 AM, Canucks General Manager Jim Benning revealed that the Canucks aren’t quite ready to embrace the Jacob Markstrom era. It appears as though Ryan Miller, in the final of a three-year $18-million contract, will be the Canucks starter for at least another season.
#Canucks Benning on 1040: ‘Ryan Miller is our number one goalie. Let’s make no mistake about that.’
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) September 19, 2016
Miller, who turned 36 this off-season, appeared in 51 contests for the Canucks last season and performed relatively well, finishing the season with a .915 Sv%. He went 17-24-9 with a 2.70 GAA.
This is an interesting development for a number of reasons. For starters, I think most of us assumed the Canucks would enter this season in much the same way they finished: with Miller and Markstrom splitting starts.
Despite Markstrom’s development, Benning says very clearly Ryan Miller is the number 1 goalie in VAN. No 50/50 split of duties forecasted
— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) September 19, 2016
It’s also worth noting that I’m not entirely sure Miller can even handle a starter’s workload. Consider for a moment Miller’s general malaise and vocal dissatisfaction with his workload in November of last season and it’s especially confounding. You can probably win with Miller, but not as your workhorse netminder. He is 36-years-old, after all.
This says nothing of the fact that Markstrom, 26, is going to need to learn to adapt to something resembling a starters workload sooner than later. Richard Bachman aside, Markstrom is the only goaltender the Canucks have signed beyond this season with so much as a lick of NHL experience. If nothing else, Markstrom’s three-year extension indicates that he figures into the Canucks’ future and prominently at that.
Reminder: Lundqvist didn’t receive a Vezina vote, is having career shoehorned into age-related decline narrative. pic.twitter.com/lpChmMIV8n
— Nick Mercadante (@NMercad) September 5, 2016
— Nick Mercadante (@NMercad) August 26, 2016
Stil, while the raw Sv% numbers paint a relatively even picture, most if not all of the underlying goaltender data from last season paints Miller as a slightly better option. I guess the big question is whether that remains the case as Miller enters his age 36 season as opposed to Markstrom’s age 26 season. Colour me skeptical.