The Anaheim Ducks currently boast the best 1-2 goalie punch in the NHL, with John Gibson and Ryan Miller. Both goalies are within the top 5 of Goals Saved Above Average (GSAA), with Gibson at the top of the league and Ryan Miller 5th. For those unfamiliar with the stat, it can best be compared to baseball’s WAR ratings. Essentially providing us with the players value compared to the league average at that position. Unfortunately for the Ducks, their lights out goaltending hasn’t been able to completely carry them through a rough start that has them currently out of the playoffs. Part of this reasoning being the absence of star forward Corey Perry, but the main culprit in the struggles has been their blue line. The below chart is the top five goalies in the league sorted by Goals Saved Against Average (GSAA). As stated above, the two at the top and the bottom of the least represent John Gibson and Ryan Miller respectively.
It’s far too early to hit the panic button in Southern Cali, as the NHL hasn’t even hit the quarter mark in the season but if the team doesn’t start trending in the right direction keep an eye on Ryan Miller. If the 38 year old goaltender can continue his dominance in the back up role, it may be in Anaheim’s best interest to move the netminder. In doing so, the team can address the issues at defense while supplying a contender with a veteran proven goaltender who at the moment is playing his best hockey. It’s near impossible to predict if Miller can keep up his production, especially if a contender sees him as the answer to their number one goalie problems, considering the veteran has had 5 starts this year. However, for a team like Anaheim who may be faced with the tough decision of buying or selling at the deadline, Ryan Miller may be the key piece in a trade to patch up their struggling defense.
St. Louis is in a bit of a tricky situation at the moment as they seemingly committed to goalie Jake Allen, who is in his second year of a four year deal worth $17.4 million. Regardless of his contract, Allen is simply not producing and for a team that seemingly won the off season gearing up for a cup run, a goalie shake up may be in order. Allen is currently dead last in GSAA for all qualified goalies, and their back up Chad Johnson sits at 21st. In a perfect world, St Louis. feels like the perfect fit for Ryan Miller from an outside perspective but for two struggling teams in Anaheim and St. Louis, they may be looking at bigger splashes than a trade involving a back up goaltender.
After the news today in Tampa surrounding star goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, do not be shocked to hear Ryan Miller rumors surrounding the state of Florida. The number one goalie for the Lightening is currently out indefinitely with a broken foot. Tampa Bay currently sits in second in the entire NHL with 25 points through 18 games and Ryan Miller could be the perfect fit to carry the weight for the Lightening while Vasilevskiy recovers from injury. With no timetable to return, it’s questionable if Ryan Miller could hold up with that sort of pace but the veteran is certainly more qualified than any other goalie currently in the Tampa Bay organization. Not only is Ryan Miller one of the leading options to take over for Vasilevskiy, but having Ryan Miller as a back up through another cup run seems invaluable.