The Boston Bruins came into the preseason with plenty of questions, some of which have been answered (i.e. the backup goaltender situation), and others that remain unanswered. One of Boston’s biggest question marks was their defense. Given the injuries to Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara, Boston’s defense has several spots that will need filling come opening night.
One of the players who you should see aon Thursday night at TD Garden is Colin Miller. The 22-year-old defenseman has been nothing short of impressive in his first showing in a Bruins uniform.
Miller, who Boston acquired from Los Angeles as part of the Milan Lucic trade, has impressed on several levels this preseason. One thing that’s easy to notice is Miller’s rocket of a slapshot. Miller’s slapshot clocked in at 105.5 miles per hour at last season’s AHL all-star game, which set a new record for the league.
On top of that, Miller won the AHL’s fastest skater competition the same day.
The Ontario native has put both of those talents on display thus far with the Bruins, and has been effective on both sides of the ice. While he’s a more offensively minded defenseman, he’s been able to work on his defensive abilities of late, and Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has taken note of that.
“Colin’s always been able to shoot the puck,” said Sweeney, according to thebostonglobe.com. “He skates well. His first pass has generally been very good. He zips it. He does think the game on the offensive side of it, tipped 60-40, let’s say, and 70-30 at times. I think he’s built into his game that conviction piece of learning how to defend. It’s not just about getting the puck and going. It’s realizing that playing without it is equally important.”
Miller has shown flashes of defensive abilities too, and has proven that he’s more than willing to play a physical game as well. Just check out the hit he threw against the New Jersey Devils this preseason:
When the Bruins hit the ice to take on the Winnipeg Jets this Thursday, Colin Miller should be wearing a spoked B. He’s got the tools he needs to be successful with the Bruins, and has the potential to make an impact on a shaken-up Bruins’ defensive core come the start of the season. He surprised me this preseason, and if he’s given the opportunity, I think he can surprise a lot more people with his play during the regular season.
Cam is a Broadcast Journalism student at the University of Maryland. He’s the Boston Bruins Beat Writer at The Hockey Writers, and is an avid college hockey fan. Find him on Twitter @CamHasbrouck!