Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Getting To Know Your 2010 U.S. Men's Olympic Hockey Team: Ryan Miller

And just like that, we're into the goalie segment. The numbers might not be the easiest to comprehend, but we have faith in you, precious reader. Suffice to say that you want a low goals-against average, a high save percentage, more wins than losses, and, uh, shutouts are a good thing.

Ryan Miller will turn 30 this summer. He calls East Lansing, Michigan home, and he was drafted in the fifth round of the 1999 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. Miller, his brother, and three cousins all attended Michigan State University. It was Miller, however, who set an NCAA record with career shutouts (26) in 2001, and in that same season, he became only the second goaltender in history to win the Hobey Baker Award (top college player), doing so by way of the aforementioned shutouts, as well as leading the nation in wins, winning percentage, save percentage, and goals-against average.

Through seven professional seasons Miller has gone 175-100, with a career 2.58 GAA, a .914 save percentage, and wrangled 17 shutouts for the Sabres. He's 20-14 in the post-season, with a 2.40 GAA, and a .915 save percentage. He has been to one All-Star Game, led the league in 2007-08 with fewest goals against, and again led the league last year with a .931 save percentage.

The thing to know about olympic goaltending, at least in recent years, is that platooning has proved not to work. Were I the U.S. bench boss, I'd pick one guy, stick with him in all key games, and that guy would be Miller.