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  • Signing of Kevan Miller a head scratcher

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    Signing of Kevan Miller a head scratcher

    Anthony Travalgia May 25, 2016

    On Tuesday, the Bruins announced they have come to terms with defenseman Kevan Miller on a four-year deal worth $10 million. Miller has appeared in 159 games with the Bruins over three seasons where he has 31 points on eight goals and 23 assists. Miller is a career plus-55.

    “Boston is a great city to play in, and we have the best fans in the NHL, so I’m very thankful to them as well. I love playing here; it’s an honor to put that jersey on before every game,” Miller said via conference call on Tuesday. “I feel my style of play fits in well here. I’m really looking forward to helping this team get back to the playoffs and reach our ultimate goal and win a Stanley Cup. I just want to say thank you for that.”

    In a season where the Bruins struggled defensively, Miller, like the rest of the team, had his share of ups and downs. Averaging a career high 19:04 of ice time per game, Miller’s role with the Bruins certainly increased last season.

    “You know I think my role has changed over the years. And I’ve played in multiple circumstances and in multiple roles throughout the season. And I’m looking forward to doing my job, whether it is shutting down another top line or being hard to play against and making plays out of my zone,” Miller added.

    “I’m actually looking forward to that, and I think that it’s obviously going to change year-to-year depending on who you have in your lineup. But I’m obviously I’m foreseeing a pretty good team this year, and I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

    After two seasons in which the Bruins failed to make the playoffs and really had trouble in their own end, which was, and still is, led by a slow, aging defensive core, the signing of Miller is indeed a head scratcher.

    With Miller now officially back on the books, the Bruins have just four defensemen under contract for the 2016-17 season: Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Adam McQuaid and Miller. Restricted free agents, Torey Krug, Joe Morrow and Zach Trotman are all expected to be back and in the running for a spot on the Bruins blueline.

    It’s no secret the Bruins need to better themselves defensively if a playoff return is in the cards, but the signing of Miller really does not do that. With Chara and Seidenberg on the back nine of their respective careers, the Bruins are in desperate need of two legitimate top-two defensemen.

    The $2.5 million given to Miller annually is not the bigger issue here. As Fred Toucher of 98.5 The Sports Hub points out, Miller is the 128th highest paid defenseman in the league, and that’s before free agency starts on July 1.

    The issue with the Miller deal is this: the length of the deal and the players that Miller will be taking playing time from.

    Despite what the Bruins tell you, this team is in a transition period, a rebuild if you will. With the current state of the Bruins, now is the time for Colin Miller, Trotman and Morrow to all get consistent playing time next season so coaches and management can see what the young prospects have to offer.

    Sure, Kevan Miller is a big, tough, intimidating blue liner. But you can find that elsewhere and for a heck of a lot less than $2.5 million. The Bruins currently have just under $14 million committed to their four-contracted defenseman in 2016-17. That’s a lot of money to spend on four guys who really can’t give you what you need from your top-four defensemen in today’s NHL.

    Hate on Miller all you want, but he wasn’t all that bad last year. In the second half of the season, Miller was pretty solid and seemed to gel pretty well next to Chara. Miller as a sixth defenseman is not all that bad. But when you already have a handful of Kevan Miller’s either already or expected back on the roster after all the RFA’s are signed, well, that’s when collapses like the past two seasons occur.

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