Reports Connect Ryan Miller to Calgary Flames, San Jose Sharks

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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. 

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.

  • Miller to Calgary makes the most sense from a trade point of view, although I doubt Miller wants to go there.

    I think San Jose is out of the question. Think back to the Kevin Bieksa deal, when Doug Wilson tried to screw us. He pulled a fast one, and a deal with Anaheim had to be put together, after Bieksa had already found a home in San Hose. I doubt Jim Benning forgot about this.

    Best option is to keep him. Let Demko develop in Utica, and if Markstrom falters, Miller is there to step in.

    • Dirty30

      Except that if you can gain an asset and also still be in contention to resign Miller in the off-season, why not try to gain the asset?

      And if Miller chooses to sign elsewhere it’s likely a contract the Canucks couldn’t and shouldn’t try to match.

      And that third pick Miller might get you might just make the difference in getting some other deal done in the future.

      Besides which, it’s time to determine if Markstrom is really your guy when it doesn’t matter.

      • apr

        I actually wouldn’t mind giving either Johnson or Elliott a test run, besides getting a mid round pick. We’re going to need a veteran to play with Markstrom next year.

        That said, I would not be opposed to an announcement for a Miller extension at a reasonable cost in a 1 or 2 year contract. Surely Miller knows that the California teams are set in goal going forward.

    • JuiceBox

      Calgary would be a good fit for Miller career-wise. He has a chance to be a #1 goalie for a couple more years and if the Canucks allow him to negotiate an extension – similar to what they did for Burrows – it would increase the return. Calgary’s prospect pool is pretty thin, and they gave up a 2nd and a 3rd for Elliot so they likely don’t want to give up more picks. If Vancouver throws in a 2nd or 3rd or a prospect they might be able to squeeze a 1st rounder out of it.

      Being a starter for a playoff team sounds a lot better than being a back-up for a playoff team and signing a two year deal sounds a lot better than hitting hitting the open market because at his age there are no guarantees he is going to land another starting job.

      Question is, does he want to live in Calgary for the next couple of years?

  • Hockey Warrior

    I can exclusively reveal that while Miller is a long shot to go anywhere – JANNIK HANSEN is going to… the San Jose Sharks.

    Remember blowhards, you HEARD IT FROM ME FIRST!

    • pheenster

      Hey everyone, here’s Dan Rather to tell us about a rumour that has been out there for weeks. Next he’s going to tell us how the Beatles are about to break up.

  • sh1t4brains

    Miller knows…if he performs well with a playoff bound team…he’s gonna get paid AGAIN. Otherwise, no one else will want him outside of the Nucks wanting him to backstop Marky

    Ergo, JB is probably wanting a prospect plus pick contingent on how deep that team will go. Flames have #17 and #47.