It’s always fun to see a minor league player make his NHL debut and that
may happen tomorrow night in Edmonton. Andrew Miller is a college free
agent signing by the organization and recent games have suggested he’s
turned a corner. Miller’s age (26 ) and recent performance (10-10-20 in
his last 16 AHL games) combined with his contract status (RFA) mean this
is a good time to have a quick look-see at the player. I wrote about
the idea of recall on the weekend (here). 


  • Ivy League Player of Year and first-team All-ECAC in his final season, 2012-13
  • Frozen
    Four MVP in 2013 with 2 goals and 2 assists…Scored the overtime
    winner in the 2013 Frozen Four semifinal against UMass Lowell
  • Served
    as Yale’s captain in 2012-13 as the Bulldogs’ captured their first NCAA
    hockey championship at the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh

was brought into the organization mere hours after Craig MacTavish took
over as GM. I think it’s probably accurate to suggest the college
free-agent acquisitions below belong to Tambellini—save Miller—who would
have been scouted heavily by MacT during his season of casting about
for players (much as Bob Green does today for the organization)

  1. March 8, 2011: Oilers sign Taylor Fedun from Princeton.
  2. March 19, 2011: Oilers sign Tanner House from Maine.
  3. March 31, 2011: Oilers sign Hunter Tremblay from University of New Brunswick.
  4. April 1, 2011: Oilers sign Marc Arcobello from Oklahoma City (AHL) via Stockton (ECHL) via Yale.
  5. July 1, 2012: Oilers sign Justin Schultz from Wisconsin.
  6. April 15, 2013: Oilers replace Steve Tambellini with Craig MacTavish in the GM position.
  7. April 17, 2013: Oilers sign Andrew Miller from Yale.

the time of his signing (or thereabouts) Oilers fans felt some sense of
deja vu over Miller: His scouting report was very similar to Mark
Arcobello, a promising center originally signed to an AHL-only deal
(similar to the one Josh Winquist is on now).

  • Corey Pronman: The
    24 year old center is a classic small, skilled college player. Miller
    displays above-average qualities in terms of his speed, puck skills and
    overall offensive instincts. In his Senior season especially he showed
    the ability to consistently create scoring chances and keep the play
    flowing in the right direction.

Miller received a $70,000 AHL salary and a $92,500 signing bonus and  of course he was
re-signed last offseason ($90,000 AHL and $675,000 NHL salary).

  • Neal Livingston on Andrew Miller playing in the AHL (after 2013-14)
    Used mostly as a versatile right winger, Andrew Miller was an important
    piece in Todd Nelson’s game plan of suffrage. Miller caught the eye of
    Craig MacTavish coming out of the collegiate ranks, and seemingly was
    poised to play a bottom center role with the Oilers “one day.” A wrist
    injury sidelined him for a spell in Oklahoma City, and while he was out,
    the team moved forward. The youthfulness caught somewhat of a rhythm
    down the stretch, and when he was inserted back into the fold his role
    slightly changed. Source

Is it Miller time? We wait.

(Photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).

  • 916oiler

    Bob Stauffer (on his show) and Jim Matheson (on Twitter) suggested earlier today Miller is likely the guy to get the call. Coming off a three-goal game. Makes sense.

  • 916oiler

    We ended up getting a useful center in return for Arcobello. This could be a chance to increase Miller’s value; maybe we even have a player in Miller for the future.

  • tileguy

    oh good, a 26 yr old small winger, just what we need. There is only one opening next year on offence and that is for a 3rd line winger to play with Lander and Purcell.

    It should be somebody with a little grit and size to his game.

        • CDNinATL

          I think the idea is do whats also best for their development. Yakimov and Khaira may very well have more long term potential. But what’s best for their development? They are both in their 1st year in the AHL. Both have had some injuries this year that has kept them out of the lineup for long stretches. But most importantly in OKC they are getting prime playing time. They are being counted on for bigger roles in the biggest situations in OKC. This is good for development.

          I do like both these players you mentioned a great deal. I just think that sometimes whats best for a player’s “long term” is to spend time ripening in the AHL. ala Detroit model.

          • WeridAl

            Good point and not only that, Yakimov and Khaira haven’t earned it yet. They struggled a lot during the first half of the season and are only producing points the last couple of months. Also they are highly unlikely to be on the roster next fall unless the Oilers want to tank for Auston Matthews for the 2016 draft.

          • DonEnrico

            The Detroit model is only referenced when oiler management doesn’t follow that development path. When they do follow the path Oilers fans complain “that guy should be up here”, oblivious to the fact JJ is hurt and yakimov is plain not ready. Too many stupid oiler fans calling into radio shows and passing on their armchair GM opinions.

          • DonEnrico

            Bottom-3 finish again. Out of the playoffs nine straight years. And people are debating an injury call-up in mid-March.

            If they are looking at adding Las Vegas and another team, To heck with southern Ontario. I think Alberta has enough passionate fans for another team.

  • Shaun Doe

    Are there any comparable players that took a similar path and became useful NHLers?

    What things does a guy with his size disadvantage have to do to become a bottom six NHL player?

  • tileguy

    Pffft, trash all you want

    BP, RNH, Ebbs

    Yak, Roy, Hall

    Purcell, Lander, ???

    Klink, Gordon, Hen

    You want Miller to fill that position? Who is not making the team next year?

  • tileguy

    At hat point do Sports Writers have to get things right about the team they are covering?

    I maybe off base but I think Sports Writers should have better insights into the team which in turn leads to better predict the season.

    Obviously for the Oilers most have been wrong.

  • Craig1981

    He is 26 and is not a player on a playoff team……that said, props to any player who went to Yale, has a ‘prosperous’ professional hockey, and may hopefully get a chance to play an NHL game.

    …….that said I hope he isn’t in the long range plan of the Oilers NHL team (Though the organization does need a AHL team leader)

  • Craig1981

    Great, another Arcobello. How is it possible that we think bringing this guy in is a good idea? So now Lowetide can start talking about how Miller’s numbers warrant a call up. Just like Arco was a good way to start the season. I’m amazed at how stupid people are.

    • Has Miller done enough to deserve a shot in the NHL? Leads OKC in points and is 5th overall in AHL scoring… the answer is Yes.

      It also sends the right message to all the prospects fighting to get their own chance to play in the NHL. Work hard and produce and your # might just get called. I guarantee if he does get the call not 1 player in OKC will feel an injustice.

      I’m amazed at how stupid people are too.

      • WeridAl

        Your reasoning is great for a last place team that wants to remain a last place team. Another small forward doesn’t help us. Did you not learn anything by watching Arcobello this year? Who cares if he’s doing well down there…he can never be on this team with the way the rest of the lineup is built.

        • srelio

          Without knowing your choice in who should get the callup this discussion is without context. I assume you think bigger is better. I would suggest that a team in this position goes through a series of questions to decide who should be given the looksie. Something along the lines of:

          1) Who deserves the callup based on performance.

          2) What is best for each players development?(crazy as this sounds sometimes remaining in the AHL is the better choice for a player)

          3) What are the contract implications(is he a FA after the season, does he require to pass through waivers on the way back, etc)

          4) Who does the AHL coach think deserves it.

          I’m sure ive missed many but I think you get the idea. Sometimes its not as simple as we need to be bigger. And yah a 29th place team in the running for McEichel definitely doesnt have winning games as the #1 priority.

  • Craig1981

    Oilers are selling hope because they can’t sell wins.

    Where in the world would a team like the Oilers be viable after being the worst NHL for 9 years and counting?

  • CDNinATL

    Why not give him a shot, sounds like he’s worked hard and performed well in the AHL. No sense bringing up a higher rated prospect just because he was drafted in a certain round.

  • WeridAl

    Miller at 5’10, 180lbs is not going to be able to fill in for Fraser. You would think the Oilers would be looking for a player with size and can check. Miller needs top 6 minutes to play his game, and he’s not going to get that with the Oilers. Best bet would be C.Hamilton, who has been playing well ever since coming back from a knee injury last season. He plays a great 2way game, loves to go into the corners, with a nice set of hands. Will surprise some people.

  • srelio

    Sooo basically the oilers call up a player who is not 18 and has earned an audition with his play …. and everyone complains. Please we have enough things to complain about already and this isnt one of them, in fact it seems to me like one of the few competent moves management has made all season.

    • WeridAl

      I agree. He’s a prospect who has played well enough to play a game in the NHL as a call-up. If he plays well, he may be create some trade value. What’s the worst he can do? Cost the team a game?

      I really don’t see the downside.

  • camdog

    This could be a good move for Lander, would be nice to see what he can do if he plays with a little more skill on his wings.

    Nice to rewards the players that deserve to be rewarded, that have worked hard, tired of rewarding players based on entitlement/pedigree, Miller deserves a shot.