The Detroit Red Wings gave veteran Drew Miller a three-year extension last week, and considering the price tag attached they will need to see a lot more from the depth forward in the 2013-14 season. With a group of emerging young players, the Red Wings’ seeming desire to bring back role players like Miller and Dan Cleary hints at moves being made by the heart and not with the brain. Miller played in 44 games this season, but managed only four goals and eight points. He is a valuable penalty killer, but if this move forces the Red Wings to part ways with or limit the ice time of Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson or Tomas Tatar it was the wrong move.
Miller’s three-year deal has a cap hit of $1.35 million per season, a high price to pay for a play whose career high marks are 14 goals and 25 points. The Red Wings will need to see Miller return to that kind of production (like in the 2011-12 season) to justify this deal, and they still have more moves to make. Re-signing Damien Brunner needs to be a top priority for the team, and with the team already paying Mikael Samuelsson far more than he’s worth they must be careful where they choose to spend their money.
Expectations were high for Miller last season, after he scored 15 goals and had 30 points for the Braehead Clan (EIHL) during the lockout. He was unable to duplicate that scoring form in Detroit this season, and a thumb injury cost him four regular-season games while also limiting him to six playoff games. With Andersson’s emergence as a strong defensive forward this season, a one-year deal certainly would have made more sense here than a three-year extension.