Kevan Miller has cashed in on a career year.
And a fortuitous confluence of circumstances.
Miller, who posted personal highs in games played (71), goals (five) and points (18) last season, has scored a four-year, $10 million extension from the Bruins, per TSN.
That works out to a $2.5M average annual cap hit through 2020.
Miller, 28, scored the payday after taking a while to establish himself at the NHL level. Undrafted out of Vermont, he spent considerable time with AHL Providence before becoming a regular in Boston last season.
Despite those aforementioned career highs, it was an erratic season for Miller.
Often playing alongside Zdeno Chara on Boston’s top defensive pair, he was criticized for making mistakes in his own zone and struggled with consistency, something he lamented at the end of the year.
“I think it was frustrating,” Miller said, per the Boston Herald. “I wanted to be more consistent throughout the season.
“There were some ups and downs coming back off surgery last season and this year I was trying to find my feet initially, and toward the end I started to play pretty well.”
In Miller’s defense, he was miscast as a top-pairing blueliner — duly noted by CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty, who wrote the following:
Miller is a perfectly fine and rugged bottom-pairing defenseman that brings toughness, and can survive well enough against other team’s bottom two forward lines.
But he has struggled all season when charged with stopping the other team’s best offensive players, and it has really started coming to a head over the last month.
As such, today’s extension may have caught some by surprise — like those at the Boston Globe, who wondered if Miller was “destined” for free agency, suggesting he “will draw interest” on the open market.
But others might not be all that shocked.
Miller plays on a Boston defense that’s been thinned over the last two years — by the Johnny Boychuk and Dougie Hamilton trades, specifically — and doesn’t have many capable replacements at the ready.
Miller’s not great, but he had leverage. He knew it, his agent knew it and, based on the term and the price tag, the Bruins knew it too.
Related: Kevan Miller is not the problem for the Bruins, but he does illustrate the problem