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Kevan Miller was in and out of the lineup in 2018-2019. Mostly... out.

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An injury-marred season from the veteran defenseman didn’t really give us much play on which to comment.

NHL: Montreal Canadiens at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Player Rating: 4.2

When you talk about being injury-prone, you typically connect it to players that play a heavy game, which Kevan Miller does. He plays physically, and though he has some spring in his step, he is not the fastest skater. This puts him into the difficult position of filling portions of the ice with his body, namely for blocking shots. That’s not an uncommon injury to fall on a hockey player. It’s a little less common for a player to take neck injuries, and Miller took one of the worst we’ve seen in a while - damaged cartilage in his larynx, which held him out for about four weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

All was well for a few more weeks, until the West Coast road trip in late February where Miller sustained an upper-body injury blocking a shot against the Vegas Golden Knights. This forced him to miss almost all of March, and he returned for a few games before being surprisingly held out for the regular season finale. At first, he was day-to-day, then week-to-week as the second round continued. The outpouring of injury facts at the end of the playoffs included the statement that Miller had fractured his kneecap, had surgery, recovered, and re-injured the kneecap practicing for a playoff return.

There’s a few silver linings for the Bruins’ benefit due to such an injury-affected season, and they’re all more than a little bit selfish. Steve Kampfer probably wouldn’t have seen the 35 games he did if Miller was healthy. We also probably wouldn’t have experienced Connor Clifton’s transformation into CliffyHockey, Playoff Wrecking Ball. Jeremy Lauzon suited up for sixteen games. A couple games each for Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril keeps the development wheel spinnin’. Some team progress, but at what cost?

Maybe Kevan Miller wasn’t going to light the world on fire in the playoffs, and maybe he would have been benched. He’s still higher on the depth chart than Paul Carey, Kampfer, the kids... and his 29 career games played in the playoffs is good experience. Not the linchpin, but a workhorse on the team. Even through all these injuries, he still played in 39 games and played a bit below the level we might have expected from him over a full season. His defensive possession stats are not ideal, but Kevan usually doesn’t have the puck when it comes into his defensive zone, and he gets rid of it pretty quickly to get it out of the zone.

Evolving-Hockey.com

For Miller, the question now remains: will he be fully recovered from his kneecap injury for the start of the regular season?

BEST OF

I mean, we can’t not include video of Kevan Miller fighting.

A bit less exciting, but here’s another.

And another, with a solid landing. Come back ready, Kevan, and make the kids earn your spot. Let’s hope it doesn’t go the same way next season.