It should be obvious by now that Jim Benning is extremely loyal to Ryan Miller. The Canucks’ general manager was instrumental in the drafting of the American netminder (almost two decades ago in Buffalo), and one of Benning’s first moves in Vancouver was to sign Miller to a three-year, $18 million deal.
“Ryan Miller is our No. 1 goalie,” Benning told TSN 1040 radio (audio). “He’s a guy that, he has the experience, he had a good season for us last year. So let’s make no mistake about that, first and foremost, Ryan’s our No. 1 goalie, but I feel we have two real good goalies and that’s a strength of our team.”
Benning did watch Markstrom make a surprise start for Sweden yesterday at the World Cup, and he was “really happy” to see his young netminder stop all but one of the 28 shots he faced in a 2-1 win over Russia.
“I think this is a good step for him in his confidence and going forward, so I was happy that he played real good and his team won,” said Benning.
The message for Markstrom is that he’ll have to outplay the 36-year-old Miller to become the No. 1, and that’s certainly fair enough. Both goalies had similar save percentages last season. Markstrom’s was .915 in 33 games, Miller’s was .916 in 51 games.