Vancouver’s in the midst of its bye week, and won’t play again until Saturday, but still figures to be very active next over the few days.
GM Jim Benning said he’d talk with players possessing no-trade clauses during the break, and one of those, veteran netminder Ryan Miller, will have additional discussions as well.
More on this, from Pierre LeBrun on TSN’s Insider Trading:
Ryan Miller has a no-trade with only five teams on it, and of those five teams to go to, three are in the state of California. He spends his offseason, as most people know, in the L.A. area.
The L.A. Kings are, to me, the only real team that potentially makes sense. If they get news on Jonathan Quick in the next week that they’re not sure about him, then perhaps they have to go out and trade for a goalie — and Ryan Miller, that could be of interest.
On the flip side? The Canucks are not against Ryan Miller coming back next year at a lower salary, and being a mentor of sorts.
Miller’s in the last of a three-year, $18 million deal with a $6M cap hit. Pricey, but one that could be mitigated by salary retention.
As for potential suitors?
Today, the Kings waived current backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff, a move many have linked to Quick’s pending return. So that would (theoretically) rule out the Miller-to-L.A. idea.
In a recent radio hit, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman floated the idea of Anaheim acquiring Miller. John Gibson has been terrific and is the unquestioned No. 1, but the situation behind him is dicey. Jonathan Bernier, himself a pending UFA, has just a .901 save percentage on the year with a 2.93 GAA, and isn’t playing much. Bernier’s made just two starts this month and in his last one, he was hooked after allowing three goals on just six shots.
Then there’s San Jose.
The club has history of upgrading the backup goalie position at the deadline, most notably last year when James Reimer was acquired to replace the ineffective Alex Stalock. There have been rumblings GM Doug Wilson might try it again this season, but head coach Peter DeBoer recently gave current No. 2 Aaron Dell a vote of confidence.
“There’s probably only one or two teams in the league with the luxury that if their starter goes down they feel very confident,” DeBoer said, per the Mercury News. “At the same time, our group has a real confidence in Deller, I think he’s earned that.”
In the end, an extension in Vancouver might be the most likely outcome. Miller’s been solid, posting a .917 save percentage for a sub-.500 team with one of the league’s worst goal differentials (minus-30). Jacob Markstrom hasn’t proven he’s a legitimate full-time starter, and the goalie market could be flooded this summer with the likes of Ben Bishop, Marc-Andre Fleury, Steve Mason, Michal Neuvirth, Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson all potentially available.