Geek of the Week: The Emergence of Colin Miller

by Scott Maran on April 8, 2018

Colin Miller finished just behind Oliver Ekman-Larsson in points in 2017-18

The Vegas Golden Knights’ season has by all accounts completely defied expectations. Entering the league as the first expansion team in years, most predicted a very dreary first season, most likely culminating in a last-place finish and very high draft pick. However, the Knights have clinched a playoff spot and have a very good chance at winning the Stanley Cup. While there are plenty of players whose breakout seasons have contributed to the Knights success, Colin Miller’s tremendous year has significantly helped the Knights and the lucky poolies who selected him.

Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft, Miller was one of the Kings’ top defensive prospects at the time. Averaging a point per game in his final year in the OHL and finishing with 52 points in 70 games for the Manchester Monarchs in 2015, Miller had plenty of offensive potential. However, there was a logjam of defenseman on the Kings. So Miller had a hard time cracking the lineup, ultimately being shipped to the Boston Bruins in a package to land Milan Lucic.

With the Bruins, Miller found more consistent NHL time (actually getting the chance to play in some NHL games) and flashed his potential with 16 points in 42 games in his rookie season. However, after following that year up with only 13 points in 61 games, the Bruins left him exposed in the expansion draft. Miller was then one of many defensemen claimed by the Golden Knights.

Now at the end of the NHL regular season, Colin Miller has established himself as one of the Knights’ best defenseman, having the best season of his career and providing plenty of fantasy value in the process. According to our Fantasy Hockey Geek tool, Miller’s actually been the 46th most valuable skater in fantasy hockey.
 

 

Rank

FHG Value

GP

G

A

SOG

PPP

HITS

Vladimir Tarasenko

44

39

80

33

33

306

16

88

Johnny Gaudreau

45

39

80

24

60

227

24

16

Colin Miller

46

39

82

10

31

177

17

160

Evgeny Kuznetsov

47

37

79

27

56

187

30

49

Artemy Panarin

48

37

81

27

55

228

21

15


After only scoring 29 points through his first 103 games, Miller exploded for his first 40-point campaign of his career. His 10 goals are tied for the 23rd most among all defensemen and he sits 27th overall in total points out of all defenders. Just behind players like Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Dougie Hamilton in points, Miller has been actually been one of the best offensive defenseman over the course of the season.

But besides raw point totals, Miller has seen his value skyrocket in plenty of other categories. His 174 shots are the 31st most out of all defenders while his shot rate per 60 minutes is the 29th highest by a defender in the NHL. He’s also been a dominant force in the hits category, recording the 19th most hits by any defender and 41st most hits out of all skaters.

Overall, Miller’s ascent to fantasy relevance can’t really be pinned to one specific cause. With significant increases in points, shots, power-play points, and hits, Miller has emerged as a solid fantasy option and will likely remain as one for years to come. Miller has always had the offensive potential to be a key scorer in the league yet never had the chance to unleash it until this year.

On the Knights, Miller was given the chance to assume a key role on the blueline, indicated by his huge spike in average ice time per game. After only averaging less than 16 minutes of ice time per game in Boston, Miller is now averaging over 19 minutes per game with the Golden Knights. As a key fixture on the Knights’ blueline for years to come, expect Miller to continue to provide lots of fantasy value for poolies.