Ducks’ Ryan Miller eyeing Hasek on wins list, unsure of playing future

Ryan Miller will turn 40 in July, and while he can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, he’s keeping his focus on hoping to complete the 2019-20 season. The Ducks goaltender told Sportsnet’s Gene Principe that he’s not sure if he’ll continue playing beyond this season, citing the uncertainly regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s a lot of talk here in California that schools are not going to be fully in session possibly into next year,” Miller said. “That changes the dynamic around the house and what needs to happen and what’s important.”

Anaheim had 11 games to play at the time of the NHL pause on March 12. Miller, who has 387 career wins between his time with the Sabres, Blues, Canucks, and Ducks, would like to catch Dominik Hasek (389) for 14th all-time.

“I was right there, I was really hoping I could catch Dominik,” Miller said. “That’d be something special to me because coming into Buffalo, following in his footsteps and expectations was quite a heavy thing at first, and I was happy I was able to learn how to kind of create my own space in Buffalo and play my own game and separate myself and be a different goaltender from his legacy. So definitely something that would have been fun to chase down, and I’m still hopeful that this year that can happen.”

Miller made his NHL debut with the Sabres in November 2002, two seasons after Hasek was dealt from Buffalo to the Red Wings.

After years as a starter, Miller has found a late-career role as a backup for John Gibson. In 71 appearances with the Ducks since 2017-18, he’s posted a .916 even strength save percentage and helped them to 29 wins in 57 starts.

“I fell off that pace a little while ago, and I’ve just been trying to chip away at [reaching 400 wins], becoming a backup in Anaheim,” he said. “Still having fun, still enjoying going to the rink, and still very competitive. This whole situation we’re all going through is definitely a curveball.

“I would love to have a chance to put the gear on and give it another chance, but like everybody else we’ll have to wait and see how it’s going to play out.”

As he waits the pause out, Miller is auctioning off equipment and autographed items to help families with children affected by the pandemic. FeedMore WNY, Buffalo PAL, and Second Harvest Food Bank of OC will benefit from the money raised.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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