The Boston Bruins have several decisions to make this summer with regards to their defensive group, including the pending free agency of Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara. Both players obviously would love to stay in Boston, but how exactly they fit into a stagnant salary cap isn’t clear. There is another player however that is scheduled for unrestricted free agency, and that’s Kevan Miller, the 32-year old defenseman who hasn’t played in an NHL game in more than a year. Even with all that time spent away from the ice dealing with injury, Miller may still have a home in Boston if he wants one. Bruins’ GM Don Sweeney was on a conference call today with reporters including Matt Porter of the Boston Globe and indicated that the team will “entertain the opportunity to bring Kevan back.”
Sweeney expects Miller to be fully healthy by the start of next season—whenever that may be at this point—but it’s obviously tough to know exactly what the Bruins would be getting if the did re-sign him. The veteran defenseman has played just 165 games since the start of the 2016-17 season but was at one point an important part of the Boston blue line. The physical, rugged Miller was a staple on the penalty kill and would always be among the team leaders in hits and blocked shots, offering a counterbalance to more offensive-minded players like Krug.
Currently on the final season of a four-year, $10MM contract he signed in 2016, there’s no doubt that Miller will earn less than that $2.5MM cap hit on his next deal. If the Bruins seem cash-strapped after reduced hockey-related revenues keep the salary cap ceiling where it is (or even perhaps drop it), perhaps a player like Miller on a low-cost bounce-back contract could be of some use.
Still, it’s hard to imagine him stepping directly back into the group and being an impact player once again after missing so much time, especially with other younger options coming up the pipe in Boston.