Bruins focus on blue-line transition game could benefit Colin Miller
Colin Miller got a good taste of the business side of hockey this summer.
Following two successful seasons with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL, Miller was prepared to attempt to make the jump to the Monarchs’ affiliate in Los Angeles. He still hopes to make it to the NHL, but in his dreams are now focused in Boston after he was acquired in the Milan Lucic trade on Draft Day.
“It was pretty shocking,” Miller said about hearing about the trade that also included goaltender Martin Jones, who was dealt days later to San Jose. “I got the news that I got traded by the guy who drafted me [on Draft Day] and that I was moving here, and you know, I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Entering Training Camp, Miller is battling for one of the vacant spots on the Bruins blue-line. He does face some stiff competition, though. Zach Trotoman and Joe Morrow are looking to make the jump full-time after spending most of last season between Boston and Providence. Also, Kevan Miller is looking to bounce back from injury and former Sharks d-man Matt Irwin is looking to make a good impression after signing a one-year deal in the off-season.
This season, the Bruins are hoping to get back to using their blue-line to move the puck and make a smooth transition game from defense to offense. That was one of the problems that plagued them a year ago. Miller, who tallied 69 points (24 goals, 45 assists) in 135 games, is one of those puck-moving defensemen that can help. Having a 105 mph slap shot doesn’t hurt either — imagine a power play with Miller and Zdeno Chara at the points.
“I think they’re looking to get a little more offense from their defense this year,” Miller said about the B’s transition game. “Obviously, I think that is something that my game kind of has and its something that I like to incorporate in my game.”
At the same time, there are concerns about Miller’s game defensively, but his play and positioning on the back end improved last season in Manchester. He’ll still need to address his defensive game to be a nightly contributor on the NHL level, but his progress is a step in the right direction.
Miller’s fate — at least to start the season — will be decided in the next few weeks. For now, he’s focused on his game, the opportunity in front of him and getting accustomed to the Bruins’ philosophy.
“I think just having a strong camp is something I’m looking forward to,” Miller said. “I don’t think there is any certain, specific thing that I need to do, but improving every day and just trying to make the decision [for management] difficult.”