Spartans Beyond Campus: Ryan Miller

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Photo: Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Conor Clifford

2016 Stats: 5-9-0 record, 2.73 goals-against average, .911 save percentage.

During his time at Michigan State, Ryan Miller played in 66 games under coach Ron Mason. He had a goals-against average of 1.40, a save percentage of .944 and a 47-10-7 overall record.

In the three games played last week by Miller, the former Spartan goaltender had to make up for his team on multiple occasions. Miller, who now plays for the Vancouver Canucks, has played for two other NHL teams, is a former all-star and has made the U.S. national team three times including the 2010 Olympics in which Miller started each game and won the gold medal.

Miller hasn’t played up to the standards he set early in his season, but part of that can be attributed to the defense. He is facing nearly 33 shots on goal each game, but is allowing under three. The team has four wins in the past six games and Miller is a critical factor in that success.

The past three games, Miller has faced 106 shots. Of those 106 shots, he has been able to save 97 of them, or 92 percent. On Tuesday, Miller faced 42 shots against the Minnesota Wild in a poor defensive outing for the Canucks. However, Miller was able to save 38 of those shots, and Vancouver was able to hold on for a 5-4 victory.

Saturday, Miller had to work overtime as the game went into a shootout against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Miller made 38 saves in regulation and the overtime period, including four shots when the Maple Leaves had power plays. Miller allowed just one goal in the shootout while saving two, securing the win for Vancouver. More impressive, this was Miller’s 57th shootout win, the most in NHL history.

Miller will be a free agent in July, and trade rumors are circling the goalkeeper. Uncertainty circles the veteran about what is next for him. Ben Kruzma, a journalist for The Province, believes that Miller could sign an extension with Vancouver. After he talked with the goalkeeper, and the Canucks president Trevor Linden, neither one of them counted the idea out, and said it’s a long ways away.

The Canucks are not in a playoff position right now; sitting in 12th place of the Western Conference with just 24 points. However, they are only four points out of eighth place, which is currently held by Winnipeg. With just a fraction of the season over, Vancouver could find themselves in the postseason once again.

Coming up next for Miller and the Canucks is a five game road trip against all Eastern Conference teams.