The deal doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Earlier this month, Wings GM Ken Holland said the two sides were “working away” on an extension, describing Miller as a “good penalty killer, [and] a good leader in the room.”
Miller, 32, just wrapped a three-year, $4.05M deal with an average annual cap hit of $1.35 million. So he takes a bit of a pay hit, though that was somewhat expected given his difficult campaign.
Miller struggled through a nightmarish ’15-16, missing extensive time with a broken jaw and torn ACL. The result? Just 28 games played, and only two points scored — a tough situation to go through in a contract year.
When healthy, though, he can be an effective contributor.
Scooped off waivers from Tampa Bay seven years ago, Miller flourished during his time with the Red Wings and developed his niche as a defensively responsible forward that logs prime shorthanded minutes.
He didn’t miss a single game from 2013-15, appearing in 82 contests each season while racking up 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Miller was also one of the Red Wings’ best shot-blocking forwards and a staple of the penalty kill.
Looking ahead, the next big decision for Holland is another veteran free agent forward — Darren Helm.
It seems unlikely Helm is coming back. The Free Press suggested he could score “north of $3 million” annually on the open market, and even though the Wings did clear some major cap space by moving Pavel Datsyuk’s contract to Arizona, most of that money is (presumably) reserved to make a major play in free agency — perhaps one for Steven Stamkos.