After a 100-point regular season in which they secured the third President’ Trophy in their history, the Boston Bruins will have plenty of balls in their court with the NHL Awards. However, the winner of one NHL award might be a player who did not skate in a single NHL game this season.
Kevan Miller has had a rough patch over the last two seasons. Back in 2015, the reliable and steady physical defenseman injured his shoulder. For the 2015-16 season, Miller was just a shadow of himself. Despite his struggles, Miller signed a four-year contract extension in 2016 and he repaid that confidence from general manager Don Sweeney.
For the past four years, Miller has been a trustworthy choice on the back-end of the Bruins’ lineup. Last year, a broken kneecap halted his season with the Bruins. After missing the entire playoffs, Miller missed a golden opportunity to win the Stanley Cup while Boston missed his physical and dominant presence to push through the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final.
Now, it’s clear that Miller will miss the entire 2019-20 season—no matter what. Since the season stoppage, Miller has worsened his knee injury twice. For the rugged 32-year-old blueliner, the Bruins’ stint is all but over.
As an unrestricted free agent, the Bruins most likely won’t retain his services. For the past four seasons, Miller’s salary cap hit reached $2.5 million so the Bruins will surely use that money elsewhere.
It’s worth noting that despite his most likely departure, Don Sweeney didn’t rule out an extension back in April.
On the right side of the defense, with the stellar presences of Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo and surging Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon, the Bruins don’t feel the need to re-sign a veteran defenseman coming off a multiple-setback knee injury.
For the “qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey,” Miller is the Bruins’ Masterson Trophy award nomination.
With his dedication and continuous addition to the Bruins’ community, Miller would be a worthy award winner. He would exit Boston with a huge honor and a ton of encouragement for the future.
Miller won’t lift the Stanley Cup with the Bruins. Even if Boston won the Cup later this summer, Miller’s name wouldn’t be written on the trophy as he has not and will not play a single game this season.
After spending seven years with Boston and playing in 324 NHL games, Miller’s departure, while possibly glorious, is inevitable.