Ryan Miller was one of the busiest goalies in the NHL last season, when he routinely faced over 40 shots per game as the Vancouver Canucks’ starter.
But things should change considerably next season, after the 36-year-old signed with the Anaheim Ducks today.
Miller is well-aware that his role is going to be different, since the Ducks already have a starting goalie in John Gibson.
For Miller, though, the opportunity is two-fold. First and foremost, he’ll be closer to his wife, actress Noureen DeWulf, and their young son. Second, he’ll get the chance to win something he’s never won.
“I really wanted to maximize my time and maximize my chances in winning a Stanley Cup,” Miller told reporters, per Eric Stephens of the O.C. Register.
The Canucks did want to keep Miller, who may have left money on the table in agreeing to a two-year, $4 million deal with Anaheim. Vancouver signed Anders Nilsson instead. Nilsson will compete for starts with Jacob Markstrom.
In Anaheim, it’s possible that Miller ends up playing more than a typical backup. After all, Gibson has had trouble staying healthy, and Miller did play well last year.
In fact, Miller was often Vancouver’s best hope for a win. He finished with three shutouts and a respectable .914 save percentage.
Scott Hartnell is going back to Nashville.
The Predators announced today that they’ve signed Hartnell to a one-year, $1 million contract.
Two days ago, the 35-year-old winger was bought out by the Columbus Blue Jackets, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Hartnell was drafted by the Predators, sixth overall in 2000. He spent the first six seasons of his NHL career in Nashville, before he was traded to Philadelphia in 2007.
While with the Flyers, he played under Nashville’s current head coach, Peter Laviolette.
Related: ‘It was mutually beneficial for us to part ways’
Last summer, it looked like Cam Fowler was on his way out of Anaheim.
Today, in rather stark contrast, the 25-year-old defenseman signed an eight-year contract extension with the Ducks, worth a reported $6.5 million per season.
Fowler was already signed through 2017-18, so he becomes Anaheim property through 2025-26. The puck-moving d-man is coming off the best season of his career. He had 11 goals and 28 assists in 80 games, while averaging a team-high 24:51 of ice time.
“Cam Fowler is the type of player we want here long term,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray. “He has the obvious skill set, but also tremendous character and a drive to succeed. As good as he is, he’s not yet in his prime years, so we know the best is yet to come.”
The Ducks now have Fowler and Hampus Lindholm locked up long-term on the blue line. They’ve also got Sami Vatanen under contract for three more years.
The Ducks did surrender Shea Theodore to Vegas in the expansion draft, so keeping Fowler was important for both the present and the future.
Martin Hanzal is on to his third team in less than a year.
The 30-year-old center has signed with the Dallas Stars for three years, with a reported cap hit of $4.75 million.
In February, Hanzal was dealt from Arizona to Minnesota in a deal that cost the Wild a first-round draft pick and more. It was a trade the Wild’s owner admittedly regretted.
But Hanzal could fit well in Dallas, where Ken Hitchcock is now the head coach and responsible two-way play will be expected.
“Martin is a very detailed player who competes at high level,” said GM Jim Nill. “He is one of the league’s best centermen in the faceoff circle and his complete set of abilities will improve us in several facets of the game.”
One could see Hanzal centering the third line, behind Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza.
Hanzal also has the potential to play in the top six, should that be required.
Related: Hitch wants Seguin thinking, playing like a No. 1 center
Ron Hainsey is moving from Pittsburgh to Toronto, and Matt Hunwick is moving from Toronto to Pittsburgh.
The two left-shot defensemen both signed today. Hainsey gets a two-year deal with the Maple Leafs, with a cap hit of $3 million. Hunwick gets three years out of the Penguins, with a cap hit of $2.25 million.
Hainsey, 36, finally made his playoff debut in 2017, after getting traded to Pittsburgh from Carolina. He quickly became an important part of an unsung Penguins blue line that was missing Kris Letang.
“We’re fortunate that we picked up Ron Hainsey,” GM Jim Rutherford said after the Pens won the Cup. “He ate up a lot of minutes, played in the top pairing, did a good job.”
Hunwick, 32, played 72 games for the Maple Leafs last season. He scored one goal with 18 assists and drew consistent praise from head coach Mike Babcock.
“I think Hunny has played better and better as the year has gone on,” Babcock said in April, per The Athletic. “He’s a real valuable player for us, knows how to play, he has quietly been a plus player – around seven or eight I think he is – he’s got about 20 points, kills penalties for us, knows how to play. He’s not a big body and sometimes that gets in the way for him, but he’s very intelligent, he’s real brave, breaks out pucks. Good player.”