Fantasy Take: Colin Miller off to Buffalo

Michael Clifford

2019-06-28

 

The Vegas Golden Knights were another team facing a cap crunch and needing to ship out a contract or two. That feels amazing to say after two years in the league but here we are. Anyway, they traded Miller to Buffalo for a second-round pick in 2021 and a third-round pick in 2022.

Miller is coming off a decent production season with 29 points in 63 games while playing under 20 minutes a game. He has three years left on his current deal with a cap hit of $3.875M per season.

 

What Vegas gets

This is a pretty fascinating trade from the Vegas perspective. The right side of their defence now has Nate Schmidt, Nick Holden, and pending UFA Deryk Engelland. Schmidt is pretty good, Holden is fine, but they now need a third RD. Does that come internally? A small signing? A small trade? We’ll see.

Vegas still needs to sign Nikita Gusev, that sixth defenceman, and a backup goalie (Malcolm Subban or not), and they’re still currently over the cap with David Clarkson’s cap hit still around. There will be more moves to come from Vegas.

This does free up a lock on the PP2 job for either Schmidt or Theodore (my bet is Schmidt). It had been a three-headed monster at times over the last two seasons and this clarifies the pecking order a bit.

 

What Buffalo gets

Colin Miller is a very good defenceman. He can do it all:

  • He ranks in the 60th percentile of possession exit and possession entry percentage among all defencemen over the last three years. 
  • He ranks just outside the 80th percentile in breaking up entries.
  • He ranks in the 90th percentile of shot rate.

Now, we must say that he’s been playing third pair for most of his career so what he can do skating consistently on a top pair, or even second pair, isn’t a guarantee. What is for certain is that he’s certainly earned the opportunity to do it. For a visualization from Evolving Hockey, here is where he ranks in play-driving/play-prevention:

 

 

Back in mid-March, I wrote about how unlucky Miller had been this past season. I also wrote three years ago about