If the Vancouver Canucks want to make a big splash in free agency, then targeting the best available goaltender would be a step towards that.
According to Vancouver radio station News1130 Sports, the team has contacted the agent for unrestricted free agent Ryan Miller.
Free agency doesn’t officially open until July 1, but a negotiating window opened Wednesday, allowing teams to contact players and agents without it being considered tampering.
Miller was traded from the Buffalo Sabres to the St. Louis Blues last season, but Blues general manager Doug Armstrong announced in May the team wasn’t able to come to terms on a new contract and that Miller would be available on the open market.
In 59 appearances split between the Sabres and Blues, Miller posted a 25-30-4 record with a .918 save percentage and 2.64 goals-against average.
The Canucks’ goaltending situation has been one of the most talked-about topics in the NHL over the past few seasons. In 2013, after many months of Roberto Luongo trade speculation, the team decided to keep Luongo and instead sent Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils for the ninth-overall pick at last year’s draft. The Canucks eventually pulled the trigger on a Luongo trade, sending him and a prospect to the Florida Panthers for goalie Jacob Markstrom and centre Shawn Matthias.
Markstrom and Eddie Lack are currently under contract with the Canucks, but neither has proven to be a steady No. 1 option at the NHL level yet.
In May, new Canucks GM Jim Benning told Sportsnet 590 The Fan he would still be open to signing another goalie. Benning served as a scout with the Buffalo Sabres when the team drafted Miller in 1999.
“We’re going to look at every avenue we have to make our team competitive,” Benning said. “Vancouver is a big-market city, we’ve got a passionate fan base, [and] our owners want to win.”
Miller, an Olympic Silver medallist and the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner, would be a drastic upgrade in net.
News1130 Sports is also reporting the Canucks have contacted Toronto Maple Leafs two-way centre Dave Bolland. The 28-year-old played only 23 games in his first season with the Leafs after suffering a severed ankle tendon.