The Bruins have a handful of defensemen who will become unrestricted free agents next month.
While the focus is on Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara, there’s another face in the mix: Kevan Miller.
It’s hard to say what will be done with Miller, a guy who hasn’t played in a game since April 2019 and who has encountered multiple setbacks on his road to recovery from a kneecap injury.
Adjustments to the lineup would likely need to be made if he returned, as Bruce Cassidy mentioned in an interview a few days ago. Once a guy who was solidly in the mix every night, Miller would likely be fighting for a lineup spot on a regular basis.
But the biggest questions are will he be ready to go, and at what cost to a younger lineup?
It’s not really fair to put a timetable on when Miller might return, let alone where his game will be when he does make it back.
Could you imagine having four surgeries and still seeing little progress? It seems like he has already come so far, but still has a long way to go.
It’s nothing you can blame him for: injuries happen, and recovery is different for each player. Frankly, it seems like Miller has been victimized more than once by just plain bad luck.
Relatively recently, Don Sweeney implied that Miller would at least be offered a contract, one that kind of seems like it’d be a reward for a kid who has worked his tail off to get back to the NHL.
Some quick facts on Miller’s career with the Bruins:
- Miller began his career by signing with the Bruins as a free agent in 2011, and played his first two professional seasons in Providence.
- After he cracked the big league lineup, Miller played in 324 games and registered 67 points.
- In 2016, he signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the B’s.
- In 29 career playoff games, he accumulated 6 points.
When he was healthy and on his game, Miller was impactful. He’s a strong, physical player who was not afraid to drop the gloves. His presence was missed during the last two playoff runs, and he could have made a difference in front of the net this year.
While his veteran presence could help the team next season if he’s back at full speed, but his age and injury history mean it would have to be a short-term thing. Anything longer than a year contract is too much of a gamble for the Bruins.
Injury aside, Miller is almost 33 years old. The majority of the team’s defense is under 26 years old. Guys like Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo have already solidified themselves as part of the younger core.
With guys like Jakub Zboril, Urho Vaakanainen, and Connor Clifton ready to step in, you’d have a trade off: they may have more upside, but would they have the same physicality as Miller?
Miller has worked hard to get back to NHL shape, and it’s easy to want to reward him for that dedication.
Whether or not he fits in with the team next season is a different question.
Should the Bruins bring Kevan Miller back next season?
This poll is closed