With Nick Jensen off to Washington, the Toronto Maple Leafs could turn their attention to Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Colin Miller.
With the NHL deadline just two days away, the Toronto Maple Leafs are still firmly in the hunt for another defenceman.
The Vegas Golden Knights defenceman was scratched for the second straight game on Friday night against the Winnipeg Jets, and fans began speculating as a result. Miller, a fifth-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2012, has been linked to the Leafs in the past. He was a reported target ahead of the 2017 expansion draft while still with the Bruins.
He was, instead, selected by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft. He provided Vegas with a steady option on the back end, chipping in 10 goals and 41 points, while logging 19:21 per game in all 82 games during the 2017-18 season.
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This year, he’s posted 23 points in 48 games for the Knights, while maintaining a 55.1 percent Corsi and a relative Corsi of 1.2 percent, according to Hockey Reference.
There’s no questioning the abilities that Miller brings to the ice. He’s a right-handed shot who can fill an important role on any team’s blue line. He’s also willing to throw his weight around and get in the occasional fight if called upon. He’s a defender who can be trusted in every zone.
The Sault St. Marie, Ontario native played for – you guessed it – his hometown Soo Greyhounds. There are obvious ties to the OHL organization and Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas.
In his first draft as GM this past summer, Dubas selected Greyhound defenders Rasmus Sandin and Mac Hollowell in the first and fourth rounds, respectively. His biggest addition of the season, Jake Muzzin, also played for the Soo in his junior years.
Miller spent all three of his OHL campaigns with the Greyhounds, posting 31 goals and 105 points in 174 career games. He also served as the team’s captain during the 2012-13 campaign and is signed through 2021-22 at a cap hit of $3.875 million.
Toronto has reportedly been scouting the Carolina Hurricanes heavily throughout the season. However, the likelihood is that if the Leafs want one of the Hurricanes’ defenceman, it’s going to cost one of Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson – two assets that are currently invaluable to them.
Miller wouldn’t demand the same ransom as the likes of Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, or Justin Faulk, especially if he’s firmly in Gerard Gallant‘s doghouse. If the Leafs can manage to strengthen the rearguard without giving up one of their roster forwards – or top defensive prospects Timothy Liljegren or Rasmus Sandin – it would be a great addition.
However, Vegas GM George McPhee isn’t going to do the Leafs any favours if the teams do discuss a trade.