The market for Ryan Miller took a serious hit when the Los Angeles Kings took a sharp left on the Canucks and dealt for Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning. It didn’t evaporate, though. Not if we’re to believe the rumours making the rounds this morning.
So will Doug Wilson go the route of Dean Lombardi? Ryan Miller to Sharks has been discussed. Teal looking for backup G, he’s best available
— Dennis Bernstein (@DennisTFP) February 28, 2017
Dennis Bernstein, the Managing Editor of The Fourth Period, tends to be fairly well connected, even if he’s not in similar standing with the Bob McKenzies and Elliotte Friedmans of the world, so I tend to think that’s a report worth taking into consideration. Especially when not long afterwards Renaud Lavoie confirmed San Jose’s interest in acquiring a goaltender and added that the Calgary Flames are too.
Canucks are studying the possibility of trading Ryan Miller. Flames and Sharks are among teams looking for a goaltender. #tvasports
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) February 28, 2017
When I wrote on what remained of the market for Miller’s services on Sunday, I stopped just short of being dismissive of the possibility of San Jose as being interested in the Canucks netminder. As I noted at the time, they seem to be in able hands with 27-year-old Aaron Dell as a backup to Martin Jones.
I’ve also heard the possibility of the San Jose Sharks as a potential suitor. On the surface, it might make some sense given their general manager Doug Wilson is an unabashed Miller believer with an inexperienced backup netminder. Wilson is also the same GM who traded a fourth for James Reimer as a high-end insurance policy going into last year’s playoff run, so there’s something of a precedent.Where I’m less certain of the Sharks as a player is the fact that Aaron Dell is playing considerably better this year than their backup netminder of last year, Alex Stalock, did. Dell has the third best Sv% among qualifying goaltenders with a sterling .957 Sv% at even strength.
As I went on to add in the article, though, Jones has played the third-most games among NHL netminders. That would seem to indicate the coaching staff doesn’t trust Dell anywhere near as much as his numbers in an admittedly small sample indicate they perhaps should.
The Flames, however, make a great deal of sense. They’re one of the three teams I highlighted as a sensible destination for Miller when I wrote on the subject. Calgary has designs on making the playoffs and it’s goaltending that could prove the one obstacle in the way of accomplishing as much. If they can part with one of their two goaltenders to acquire Miller (who’s having a sneakily great season) and not surrender much else, why not?
the Calgary Flames biggest problem is they can’t find a goaltender to take the job and run with it for the life of them. As a result, they sport the 24th best 5v5 Sv% as a team in the league. That’s not ideal for a club with plans of contending for and making the playoffs — something their acquisition of Michael Stone yesterday only reaffirms.
This seems the least likely of the three suitors, which is saying much given I don’t think the other two are terribly likely as a destination either. If the Flames could easily cut bait with either goalie, perhaps that’s different. Instead they’ve committed draft picks to Brian Elliott to be ‘the guy’ this year and Chad Johnson’s been a great story as an unlikely stop-gap when he’s faltered.
Perhaps I looked too far into Elliott’s mid-season resurgence when I suggested the Flames were the least likely of the three suitors I pegged. As a team, the Flames still rank 24th in the NHL by 5v5 Sv% and Elliot’s still barely put together a month-plus of even solid netminding.
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) February 28, 2017
It will be interesting to see what comes together. It sounds like the Flames are the more interested of the two teams, but that only adds to the intrigue, because per multiple reports, Calgary isn’t even on the list of five teams Miller would waive his no-trade clause to join.
These things are fluid but Flames are not on Ryan Miller’s 5-team list in which he’d accept a trade.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) February 28, 2017
One can only hope that Miller gives Calgary serious consideration. Geographically, it’s not terribly far removed from Vancouver, and we know all too well at this stage that geography played a significant role in Miller’s wanting to sign here.
He mentioned yesterday that he’d listen if the Canucks had another team interested. https://t.co/2zTDRw98aa
— Blake Price (@BlakePriceTSN) February 28, 2017
It doesn’t sound like a deal is imminent. By that same token, trade talks have to start somewhere, and most of them start with a rumour. For the Canucks’ sake, let’s hope that’s the case here.