Miller proving his versatility.

Ducks forward Drew Miller has proved capable of playing all three forward positions, on all four lines, all while shuttling back and forth between the AHL and NHL.

Maybe even more impressive is the fact that he never seems to complain.

“Just really be prepared to play on any line — same systems, same mentality — so you’ve just got to adapt to the players you’re playing with,” Miller said. “Last year I must have gone up and down about seven or eight times. You get used to it. You learn from each time, try to make the most of each time you come back up, and make more of an impression each time.”
Miller isn’t the best scorer to emerge from the Ducks’ system, nor he is necessarily the best checker. Rather, his value lies in his versatility. Think Todd Marchant, with more size and less speed.

The 6-foot-2 Miller was sent back to Iowa at the trade deadline in favor of 6-4 checker Troy Bodie, as head coach Randy Carlyle felt the need for more size at the forward position. But versatility won out on March 19, when Miller was recalled for the fourth time in four months.

“We like Drew Miller, and we like what he brings to the table,” Carlyle said. “In this situation, we felt that he could help our hockey club at some point.”

Most notably, his short-handed minutes have increased since his recall, a necessary role after penalty-kill specialists Travis Moen and Samuel Pahlsson were shipped out at the deadline. Miller’s short-handed time on ice has increased to 1:39 a game, sixth on the team.

In Iowa, he was seeing more power-play time and still leads the team in goals scored (with 23 in 53 games). The Ducks’ power play, ranked seventh in the NHL, is a little harder to crack, and Miller has yet to prove he can score with the same proficiency in the NHL (four goals in 42 career games).

To that end, Carlyle reiterated one of his favorite phrases, saying “I just want him to be Drew Miller.”

Which means a lot.

This entry was posted in Anaheim Ducks/NHL by J.P. Hoornstra. Bookmark the permalink.

About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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