New Oilers Prospect - Andrew Miller

Justin K. Aller

On Wednesday, the Edmonton Oilers signed Andrew Miller out of Yale University. Miller served as Captain on the new National Champions from Yale after the won the Frozen Four tournament.

The Oilers announced via their twitter feed on Wednesday night that they had signed forward prospect Andrew Miller from the National Champion Yale Bulldogs.

Yale's website lists Miller as 5'10", though the Oilers themselves initially reported his size as being only 5'8" before issuing a correction stating he s 5'10" (which comes across as a moment of honesty that was quickly corrected in the name of creating better optics). He weighs in at 170 lbs, so he is definitely a smaller player regardless of his exact height. That said, he brings a higher level of skill than almost any other Oiler prospect outside of the NHL. Miller scored 41 points in 37 NCAA games this season and has generated above a point per game in each of his four seasons with Yale.

Year

GP

G

A

P

PIM

2009-10

34

5

29

34

12

2010-11

36

12

33

45

18

2011-12

34

7

29

36

8

2012-13

37

18

23

41

15

The one item there that sticks out is that after his sophomore season Miller did not display any growth in his offensive game with the exception of increasing his goal to assist ratio this season. That's not ideal, but considering he was a significant offensive contributor each season, it's not as alarming as it otherwise could be.

This strikes me as a relatively low-risk move by the team and a decent enough first move by new GM Craig MacTavish. It is has been very well established that the team sorely lacks offensive skill players outside of the NHL and former GM Steve Tambellini recently traded away one of their most highly skilled offensive prospects (Tobias Rieder) at the deadline for Kale Kessy in his endless pursuit of the second coming of Milan Lucic.

Adding Miller gives the Oilers some new talent to explore at the AHL level next season and if he turns out to be Cory Conacher, then the team has obtained an additional asset at no cost. The fact that this is a one year deal basically means the team wants the chance to evaluate how his scoring ability translates to the pro game.

At face value, I have no problem with this signing. I have my doubts as to whether Miller can bring his offensive game to the AHL, let alone the NHL, but time will tell. Though they are very different players, his numbers in his final two years in the NCAA are not drastically different than former College free agent signing Tanner House, and House has yet to establish himself as a player worthy of consideration for an NHL call-up after three seasons in with the OKC Barons. That said, adding Miller as a primarily AHL player is still not without value as the team is in need of offensive depth at that level.

The only potential for concern with this move is the 50 contract limit, which already had limited space. With previous draftees still needing to be signed, the team will need to be mindful of the 50 contract limit over the course of this off-season. Saying goodbye to the likes of Stafford, Tyrvainen, Hordichuk, Peckham, Plante and (hopefully) numerous others should potentially resolve that issue.

Overall, there's limited downside to this move and while not likely, it does present the potential for a significant pay-off down the line. For a first move as GM, MacTavish could have done much worse. Here's hoping we can continue to say that about all of his moves in the months ahead, because I get the feeling there will be quite a few.

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