Ryan Miller perfect free agent fit for Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Miller signing for two years and $4 million with the Anaheim Ducks makes sense on a lot of levels.
Miller gets term two weeks before turning 37 and a chance to play on a Stanley Cup contender close to home, with his wife, actress Noureen Dewulf, and their son living in Los Angeles during the season.
The Ducks get a veteran goalie who can still win games as a starter but should also help guide young No.1 John Gibson, whose upside is unquestioned but style and bio-mechanical inefficiencies have led to lower body injuries. Few goalies understand their game or their body as well as Miller, who has been doing position-specific off-ice training since college and throughout an impressive 14-year NHL career.
Miller talked with InGoal Magazine late last season about his off-ice work, including the use of yoga every summer to help him “look like a human being again … (because) foundational movements in yoga work through the range of motion you spend the entire season limiting.”
Miller has seen the links between yoga and daily workouts increase during his time in the NHL.
“The vast majority of the stuff I do in the weight room is so closely related now,” Miller said. “You are adding weight to some things, doing body weight for others, core control for some, but it’s become more blended. The workouts have become more functional over the years. Before they were, ‘add mass, get strong’ but now it’s more about core, posture and tailoring your body to what you are going to be using it for rather than just, ‘How much can I squat? How much can I bench?’ Now you need core control for everything, you need oxygen for everything.”
On the ice, Miller provides an experienced insurance policy if Gibson again struggles to stay healthy.
Miller is still capable of playing at a high level, posting a .916 and .914 save percentage his final two seasons behind a struggling Vancouver Canucks team. Throughout that time, Miller continued to evolve, modernizing his approach in a way he said before the NHL Trade Deadline would make it easier to adjust quickly to a new team. That’s something he struggled with after a 2014 trade to St. Louis because he was more reliant and reads and rhythm after 11 seasons with the Buffalo Sabres.
Miller, who has a .915 career save percentage that includes a high of .929 as a Vezina Trophy winner in 2010, should also benefit from playing behind a much better group of defensemen in Anaheim.
Miller played over 50 games each of the past two seasons, and serious injuries have been mostly limited to collisions, so he’s also capable of doing what the Ducks needed from Jonathan Bernier when Gibson went down for close to two months late last season.
Meticulous about his equipment, his game and his body, Miller has plenty to offer the Ducks, whether it’s mentoring a so far change resistant Gibson off the ice or replacing him on it.