Talented right-handed defenseman seldom come cheap in the National Hockey League these days.
So, Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee did well on Saturday when he locked up Colin Miller on a four-year, $15.5 million extension.
That’s great value for Miller and the Stanley Cup finalists. The deal makes Miller the team’s top paid defenseman with an annual average value of $3.875 million per annum and the contract doesn’t make McPhee look bad if Miller decides to regress in the future.
Miller certainly earned the extension with his play on the puck and away from it this past season.
The Sault Ste. Marie native led all Golden Knights defenseman in scoring during the regular season with 10 goals and 41 points, career highs for Miller, who was taken by Vegas from the Boston Bruins in the expansion draft last summer.
Miller was also effective for the Golden Knights’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, recording three goals and seven points in 20 games.
Beyond his point production, Miller was near the top of the league in puck possession metrics, ending the season in which he played all 82 games with a 55.63 CF% and had 1.6 points per 60 minutes played.
His off the puck helped Vegas get into the top 10 in terms of fewest goals allowed.
Gerard Gallant rolled Miller out extensively throughout the season boosting his time-on-ice by nearly four minutes (19:21 per game) than his previous year in Boston (15:49). He also got a minute more on the power play per game (2:27) and
The deal avoids arbitration with Miller and will put the Golden Knights counting close to $65 million against the salary cap for this upcoming season, which is locked in at $79.5 million.
Vegas can now start sorting out what they’re going to pay William Karlsson, who elected for salary arbitration last week.
Fellow restricted free agent Shea Theodore also needs a deal.