Ryan Miller‘s NHL future is unclear as the St. Louis Blues all but entirely closed the door on his return by re-signing Brian Elliot. As of right now Miller is preparing for the start of free agency in July while working out on and off the ice in Los Angeles. Apparently he needs someone to shoot pucks at him and a certain member of the Washington Capitals just so happens to be in town. This tweet from Miller has him reaching out to Brooks Laich to get skate together while they’re in town.
@brookslaich heard ur in LA. If u r looking for ice time let me know.
— Ryan Miller (@RyanMiller3039) May 28, 2014
Laich is in Los Angeles with his girlfriend, movie star Julianne Hough, and Miller lives in L.A. in the offseason with his wife, TV actress Noureen DeWulf. While their famous better halves may have brought them to the City of Angels, Miller’s contract situation and the Caps’ need for a veteran goalie could have them leaving California together.
As farfetched as it may sound, Laich can recruit Miller to come to D.C. over their skates in L.A. There are nearly five weeks before teams can (officially) pitch offers to free agents, but having such a well-respected veteran in close proximity to Miller during that time frame could give the Capitals a significant advantage when the bidding for Miller’s services start.
With the trade of Jaroslav Halak to the New York Islanders, the Capitals are left with inconsistent youngster Braden Holtby and relatively unproven Philipp Grubauer in net. Miller would be an instant upgrade and be able to provide a veteran presence while at the same time allowing Holtby to play and develop.
With the franchise overhaul that the Capitals have undergone this offseason, bringing in Miller may be the move new general manager Bryan MacLellan makes to put his stamp on the team. While the Capitals are from being a perfect team there is still plenty of talent on the roster.
Defensive inconsistencies and all Alexander Ovechkin is still a bona fide star, as is his linemate Nicklas Backstrom. With Mike Green (appearing to be) healthy for the first time in a while and John Carlson looking like a defensive anchor the blue line has talent as well, adding Miller to the mix would give new head coach Barry Trotz enough talent to possibly get the Capitals to being a factor in the Eastern Conference
While the Capitals may not provide Miller with two of the things he desires most — being close to the West Coast and being a legitimate, immediate Stanley Cup contender — he can be a round peg in a round hole. The Capitals need a veteran goalie, and Miller can be a contributing factor in the Caps returning to the postseason.
Stranger circumstances have lured players to a team, and if Miller joins the Caps and returns them to contender status a new chapter in hockey lore will be written. Two players dating starlets and one convincing the other to join on the East Coast while at an informal skate mere miles from the Pacific Ocean — it’s something right out of a Hollywood script.