While the Bruins are optimistic that the 2019-2020 season will eventually resume, Kevan Miller is not expected to return.
The veteran defenseman has not appeared in a game in over a year due to a knee injury. The Los Angeles native had been skating on his own until the NHL season was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. In a press conference with the media last week, general manager Don Sweeney gave an update on the 32-year-old.
“Kevan just had some setbacks that I don’t believe it’s going to be in his best interests to try and ramp up in a short span with the hopes of playing this year,” Sweeney said on Friday afternoon.
Damn, what a tilt between Nic Deslauriers and Kevin Miller 👊👊 pic.twitter.com/lJ37KWuVyN
— Hockey Central (@HockeyCentraI) January 15, 2019
The Bruins’ goal for Miller right now is that he is at 100 percent when the 2020-21 season begins. That is especially important for the veteran defenseman since he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Sweeney did say that the Bruins would be interested in bringing Miller back, however, Torey Krug and Jake DeBrusk will also require new deals.
Miller made his NHL debut during the 2013-2014 season and has been an effective piece on the Bruins blueline. In 324 regular-season games, he has scored 12 goals and recorded 55 assists. He also has a career plus/minus rating of 80 and three game-winning goals. He also appeared in 29 playoff games during his tenure in Boston.
Underrated moment from the 2018-19 season:
When Michael Frolik went "Noooooooooope" vs. Kevan Miller. pic.twitter.com/8YRrb1CU3o
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) August 8, 2019
Although Miller is not known for his offense, he has been an enforcer on the Bruins blueline.
In six seasons, Miller has landed 712 hits. He is not afraid to sacrifice his body, blocking 534 shots in his career. Despite only appearing in 39 games last year, Miller was able to land 73 hits and only had 20 giveaways.
While Miller has been derailed by injuries, he is a fan favorite due to his physical presence. He is never afraid to drop the gloves or stand up for his teammates regardless of the situation. That toughness has been missed at times this season and was an area that the Bruins tried to improve at the trade deadline.
Despite Miller’s uncertain future, he will have competition next season if he does return to Boston. The Bruins have Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril waiting in Providence and Jeremy Lauzon proved that he was ready for the NHL. Miller, however, has been a defensive warrior and his style of play has fit perfectly into the Bruins culture.
Regardless of what the future holds, Miller will be highly motivated next season.