On Dec. 1, we started tracking the top performance by Michigan-born or Michigan-adopted (college or juniors) players at hockey’s highest stage. Now that the hockey season has concluded, it was time to see who came out on top. The player with the most Michi-gamer nominations this year? Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres.
The 31-year-old goaltender, drafted 138th overall in 1999, is our Michi-gamer of the year, receiving the daily award 18 times dating back to Dec. 1. Born and raised in East Lansing, Miller went on to defend the crease for the Michigan State Spartans, back in 1999-2002. In 2001, Miller captured the Hobey Baker Award for the top U.S. collegiate player. He’s also the older brother of Detroit Red Wings’ forward Drew Miller.
This season, Miller posted the third-best save percentage of his career, stopping 91.6 percent of 1,788 shots faced this season. In 61 games, he compiled 31 wins, as well as six shutouts, good for fifth in the league. Buffalo missed out on the NHL playoffs by just three points, yet it wasn’t because of a poor performance from the East Lansing native. In fact, down the stretch, he went 17-5-5 in February and March, and posted five of his six shutouts in those two crucial months.
Miller is the Sabres’ all-time franchise leader in career wins (252), and also holds the franchise record for most wins in a season (41 in 2009-10). Just recently, in 2010, he backstopped Team USA to a silver medal in Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, where they fell just short of the gold in an overtime loss to Team Canada. Miller was named MVP of the Olympic hockey tournament.
Davison native and Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas finished second in Michi-gamer nominations with 11, while Grand Ledge native and Stanley Cup champion Matt Greene of the Kings came in third with six.
To see a complete listing of Michi-gamer nominations by date, click here.
- MiHockey’s Stefan Kubus