If the NHL lockout does end up costing players, owners and fans the entire 2012-13 season, it will create a mess for many teams as they lose out on a full year of each player’s contract. A whole new set of free agents would hit the open market and one-year deals signed in the offseason would essentially have been for nothing.
For the Detroit Red Wings, losing a year of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in their prime would be especially painful, but some of their fringe players are also playing the best hockey of their careers and would potentially lose one of the best seasons of their career. Drew Miller had a great season in 2011-12 and is playing at more than a point-per-game pace for the Braehead Clan during the lockout, and had the potential to have his best season yet in 2012-13.
Miller scored 14 goals and recorded 25 points for the Wings last season, while seeing mostly third line duty. His speed and offensive skill often put him in good situations on the ice, and the absence of Patrick Eaves for most of last season and whenever the lockout ends puts more responsibility on his shoulders but also guarantee him ice time. He will be a free agent at the end of the 2012-13 season, and with the depth of forwards at the AHL level that seem ready to go, it isn’t a given that the Wings would re-sign him. Miller has local ties, having starred at Michigan State University, and Detroit has always been fairly loyal to hard working players outside their top lines.
One thing is for sure, the lack of a season is preventing Miller from making a case for a longer deal with the Red Wings. In 18 games in the EIHL, he has 13 goals and 25 points.