Beginning the first in a series of posts as injured players return to the line-up, and invoking inspiration from The Clash, there's two sides to every player's argument as to whether or not he deserves to be in the line-up. After watching Drew Miller's play last night and the way he has played at times this year, I thought the question had to be raised.
Should Miller stay on the NHL roster or be waived by the Red Wings when Holmstrom, Williams, and Franzen return from injuries?
We'll go through some pros and cons as well as the basic roster that the Wings will have assuming all players stay healthy after the ones mentioned above return.
Pros to Drew Miller:
- Incredible "bang for your buck". At a very low $525,000 dollars, about 66% of Ville Leino's contract, Miller has 3 more points in 9 fewer games than Leino. Not to just pick on Leino, Miller has 5 more points in 8 fewer games than Kirk Maltby.
- He hustles every night and although his name may not be called all that often by the broadcasters, he is making plays. He's a solid forechecker with decent speed and can recover to the defensive zone well enough when he overplays a puck.
- Low on the turnover column (8 all year) and a respectable 10 takeaways to go with 51 hits and 20 blocked shots. Good puck possession play is something the organization likes to see from players.
- Disciplined hockey player that doesn't take penalties. He's tied with Leino for least minutes in the box for players with over 30 games played on the Wings. That being said, its kind of amazing with the ice time that he's had how well he's played defensively without taking lazy penalties.
- Has shown a scoring touch. He's shown some great bursts this year including his "Superman" goal against Tampa Bay and quite a few other great scoring chances. He's obviously impressed Babcock too because he's been rewarded with power play time. He made the most of it last night with a goal and an assist.
Cons to Drew Miller
- His hands, although good at times, aren't consistent enough for many people's liking. He's had several chances this year that he could have buried but was unable to do so.
- Miller is a little small at the forward position. He could put on some weight but that might slow him down so his frame often limits his abilities in the corners.
- His biggest asset is defense and a struggling offense might warrant him being waived in favor of offense.
- Could pass a little better. At times, his passes to open players are off target which can affect scoring chances.
- That might be it, he's the best looking borderline player the Wings have in my opinion.
When Williams/Franzen/Holmstrom return to the line-up, the lines will look something like this:
Those lines are not all intended to be realistic but more as a representation of how few spots are left after the injured players return. You've got to think that Babcock will keep Draper-Helm-Eaves together and likely on the fourth pairing. Then the question becomes do you sit Maltby/Leino each night and let Miller play on the third line? Or do you waive him and hope that no other team picks him up and he is able to join the Griffins in the AHL?
You're allowed to carry 23 guys on the roster and with the 11 forwards above, Maltby/Leino, six starting defenders, two goalies and a Meech/Lebda sitting out when Kronwall returns, there's one spot left on the roster. So the question I ask you is does Drew Miller deserve that spot and why or why not?
Oh, and here's that "Superman" goal: