May 19, 2014, 12:42 PM EDT
Since we can cross the St. Louis Blues off Ryan Miller’s list, here are some other teams with which the 33-year-old goalie could sign as an unrestricted free agent this summer:
— Anaheim Ducks. Probably the favorite option. It’s been widely speculated that Miller wants to play in California in order to be closer to his actress wife, Noureen DeWulf. It’s also thought Miller is open to signing a shorter-term contract, which could allow John Gibson, 20, more time to develop before he becomes a full-time starter in the NHL. Anaheim could also fetch an asset by trading Frederik Andersen, if it does decide to bid adieu to Jonas Hiller and bring in another veteran stopper.
— San Jose Sharks. The next closest NHL market to Hollywood. And the way the playoffs went for Antti Niemi (.884 save percentage, didn’t even start Game 6 versus the Kings), nobody would be shocked if general manager Doug Wilson made a change in goal. Niemi, 30, is only signed through next season.
— Vancouver Canucks. The closest thing to Hollywood that Canada can offer. (We’re probably giving too much credence to this angle, but whatever, it still works.) At the moment, the Canucks have Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom penciled in as starter and back-up. But is the former really ready to take on that role? And couldn’t the latter use a season in the AHL to rediscover the form that once made him a blue-chip prospect? It all probably depends on which direction the new general manager, whoever that may be, takes with the Canucks. If it’s more of a rebuild, signing Miller doesn’t make much sense, and he probably wouldn’t have any interest anyhow.
— Minnesota Wild. It’s not Hollywood and Niklas Backstrom is signed for two more seasons. But Backstrom’s play underwhelmed this season, and he’s also 36 years old with a growing injury log. Meanwhile, Josh Harding‘s health is a big question mark, and Darcy Kuemper is still somewhat in the unproven stage. The Wild showed a lot of promise in these playoffs. They can’t afford to take a step back next season.
— Pittsburgh Penguins. Have to include this option, what with a new GM coming aboard shortly and ownership’s frustration with the past five postseasons. Marc-Andre Fleury was good but not great in these playoffs. He wasn’t the reason they lost, but he could’ve been better. Put it this way: given all that’s happened the past few days, what are the chances Fleury signs an extension with the Pens past next season? Seems kinda low, no?
Honorary mention: Washington Capitals.
- Injured Crosby, Malkin will miss start of Pens’ camp 3
- Selanne rips Boudreau in book 13
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? 19
- Panthers owners say they’re committed even though team has lost ‘tremendous amounts of money’ 11
- Update: Wild’s Harding out indefinitely with fractured foot 20
- Johansen heads home from Columbus as talks get even messier 23
- Kesler accuses Vancouver media of making up stories, ‘throwing people under the bus’ 22
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal 52
- Mike Yeo is pretty unhappy with Minnesota’s goalie situation 22
- Much to his relief, Lecavalier will start season at center 21
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- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (52)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)