(Photo: Alan Sullivan)
Tuesday afternoon the Boston Bruins announced that they had signed defenseman Kevan Miller to a four-year contract at $2.5 million a year. The intense d-man was clear during the end-of-season media availability that he wanted to continue his career in Boston, but at the time it was still an unknown.
The 28-year-old native of Los Angeles, California was signed as a free agent on October 21, 2011, and this past season completed his third season with Boston, having before been with the Providence Bruins–the Bruins AHL affiliate. The past season saw him achieve career highs in goals (five), assists (13) and points (18) along with penalty minutes (53).
The blueliner has struggled some during his time in Boston with injuries, especially with his shoulder, that resulted in a season-ending surgery in February, 2015. So there is some question as to his durability going into this contract.
His intensity on the ice is definitely something that needs to be harnessed and could prove be his role both on and off the ice this year.
“You know, I think my role has changed over the years, and I’ve played in multiple circumstances and in multiple roles throughout the season,” Miller shared during a teleconference held Tuesday evening. “I’m looking forward to doing my job, whether it is is shutting down another top line or being hard to play against and making plays out of my zone. I’m actually looking forward to that and I think that it’s obviously going to change year-to-year depending on who you have in your lineup.”
Perhaps something else that will affect his role and his play on the ice will be the promotion of the Providence Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy to assistant coach for the Boston Bruins—another announcement made on Tuesday. Cassidy will be coaching the defense, and Miller played under him during his time in Providence.
“[Cassidy]’s a very intelligent guy. And he has a certain way of coaching that I loved down there [in Providence],” Miller said.
There are still a lot of questions about what kind of team the Bruins will ice this coming season. Having missed the playoffs two years in a row, it is clear that ownership will not accept a third year in which the team exits early. However, some of the cap and contract situations that the team finds itself in continue to be carryovers from before Don Sweeney was named General Manager.
Obviously as camp gets underway this coming fall, it will be interesting to see how Cassidy’s coaching addresses some of the issues the defensemen suffered in this past year. The blueliners will also be under the microscope by those watching them going into the opening games to see if some of the problems of last year have been addressed.
For Miller though, he is quite pleased with how things stand after the signing.
“Boston is a great city to play in and we have the best fans in the NHL, so I’m very thankful to them as well. I love playing here; it’s an honor to put that jersey on before every game.,” Miller stated at the beginning of his teleconference after thanking his family and the Bruins management and ownership.