Monday night’s game was salt in the wounds for some of the Bruins faithful, especially when former Boston defenseman Colin Miller was the first to score in the series. Those who are still dissatisfied with Don Sweeney leaving Chiller exposed during the expansion draft have been voicing their concerns, and lobbing complaints back and forth on social media. And Ty Anderson, who has to hear a lot about it, has decided once and for all to explain why Colin Miller isn’t playing for the Bruins anymore.
Colin Miller failed to legitimately separate himself from a massively underwhelming pack in his two years in town. Save your revisionist history for another player. New column on @985TheSportsHub: https://t.co/FWeNr39FU4
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) May 29, 2018
In his article, Anderson explains things that we’ve all heard before, in far more elegant terms – he was given multiple choices but couldn’t distinguish himself from the pack.
The Bruins made it very clear to their three defensemen — McQuaid, Colin Miller, and Kevan Miller — that it was a year-long tryout for that third and final protection spot. And a Miller defenseman emerged from that group, too, but it wasn’t Colin. Playing both the left and right side, Kevan Miller delivered some big-minute performances (especially in the postseason), and proved that he was capable of changing with the game, as his skills and skating game dramatically improved season to season. Miller, for what it’s worth, also checked off more boxes as a ‘finished product’ for a B’s organization that is more win-now than they are developmental (especially in regards to how they viewed themselves after the 2016-17 season).
But the final nail in Colin Miller’s Boston coffin actually came when Bruce Cassidy took over for Claude Julien.
Miller posted three goals, eight points, and averaged 16:27 in 39 games under Julien, but contributed just three goals and five points and 14:41 per night in 22 games under Cassidy. It was the opposite of what everybody expected to happen, too, as the player-friendly Cassidy was the coach that openly embraced seeing some skill and risk-taking from his defensemen versus the dump-it-in, keep-it-simple mentality that Julien had allegedly drilled into his blue-line talents, especially offensive ones.
Yes, he’s young and has a good amount of upside but that doesn’t mean much when you can’t out-perform your internal competition. Even when given the chance to free up his game from the rigidity of the Julien system, he didn’t make a case for himself. Like it or not, the older Kevan Miller vastly improved his game over last and this season and keeping him was the right choice.
As for Adam McQuaid, it was always going to be hard to have a team take him with term left on his deal without giving up something that Sweeney holds dear in his prospect pool. While his experience and his ability to be a good soldier this season were valuable assets in 2017-18, it was clear that once he lost his spot to injury, he wasn’t going to gain it back permanently.
The simple fact is that Colin Miller wasn’t a good fit for the Bruins. It was better to let him go and flourish elsewhere than to try to make him work here. We should all be happy for him and take pride in that he did learn something from his time in Boston – always make the most of your opportunity.