Editor’s note: Vegas finally has a roster. It’s time to get excited. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be introducing you to these new Golden Knights players.
The Vegas Golden Knights have not been hesitant about moving the overabundance of defensemen they selected in the expansion draft.
Of the 13 blueliners Vegas claimed, four of them (Trevor van Riemsdyk, David Schlemko, Marc Methot and Alexei Emelin) have already been shipped elsewhere for draft picks. Knights general manager George McPhee knew that the large influx of defensemen would catch the attention of teams desperate for blueline help. So far, he has taken advantage of that.
Colin Miller, however, doesn’t seem like someone the Golden Knights will end up moving. The 24-year-old defenseman began showing legitimate signs of top-notch play driving skills last season and figures to continue his upward trajectory in an enhanced role with Vegas.
Though advanced statistics can sometimes be arbitrary, it’s hard to deny Miller’s ability to get the puck moving in the right direction. Miller led the Bruins in both Corsi For and Goals For percentage last season, meaning the team was more likely to score when he was on the ice than when he was on the bench. For what it’s worth, Miller’s Corsi For per 60 at even strength (14.30) exceeded that of players such as Kris Letang (12.38), Roman Josi (12.79), Erik Karlsson (13.48) and Shayne Gostisbehere (13.85).
However, Miller tends to struggle in the defensive zone, which led to the Bruins scratching him on multiple occasions last season. But make no mistake — his potential to be an effective top-pair defenseman is sky high.
While trading Miller seems unlikely, there could definitely be a market for the right-shot defenseman. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported in June that Toronto could be a logical landing spot for Miller if the Golden Knights opted to acquire future assets from the Maple Leafs.
The Leafs’ front office would also be intimately familiar with Bruins defenseman Colin Miller, a right-shot from another division rival who could represent a more inexpensive option and fit in coach Mike Babcock’s quest to perfectly balance pairs with left and right-shooting defensemen.
With one year left on his $1 million contract, Miller seems to be too good a gamble to trade away. If Vegas does move him, the return would have to be gargantuan.
Currently, though, Miller figures to be one of the best defenseman on the team. If paired with a stay-at-home defenseman like Brayden McNabb, Miller would have a little more freedom to create opportunities in the offensive zone, where he excels.