The Vegas Golden Knights have signed restricted free agent Colin Miller to a four-year, $15.5MM contract worth an AAV of $3.875MM, according the Associated Press’ Stephen Whyno. The deal makes him the highest paid defenseman with the Golden Knights.
Miller was one of the key components for Vegas during an impressive run in its inaugural season that took them all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. The 25-year-old had his best year as a pro player with the Golden Knights. He led all defenseman with 41 points, including 10 goals and 31 assists and was a key contributor in the team’s playoff run, where he tallied three goals and seven points in 20 games. He was also a critical part of the team’s power play unit. For Miller, it marks a big raise as he played the last two seasons for $1MM per year.
Acquired through the expansion draft from the Boston Bruins, Miller has quickly taken the reigns as the top defenseman along with Nate Schmidt in Vegas. His average ice time for the year increased from over 15 minutes a game last year in Boston to 19:21 this year with the Golden Knights. Considered to have an elite-level slapshot as he had a record-breaking shot back in the 2015 AHL Hardest Shot competition, clocking in at 105.5 mph, Vegas has asked him to shoot more, which he did all season. However, more importantly, Miller’s defensive game has rounded out this year, which has been key to the blueliner’s success.
The four-year deal means the team opted to offer him a long-term deal that ate into two future unrestricted years. At $3.875MM, the Golden Knights got solid value again from a young, emerging player. The team still has quite a few restricted free agents it must deal with including No. 1 center William Karlsson, as well as Shea Theodore, Tomas Nosek, William Carrier, Philip Holm and Teemu Pulkkinen. Vegas remains in a good situation cap-wise as the team still has a little under $15MM in salary cap space left after the Miller signing and that doesn’t include the money they will get back for David Clarkson, who’s $5.25MM contract can be put onto LTIR when the season starts.