Former Michigan State goalie Ryan Miller officially played in his final NHL game this past Saturday, May 8. Miller finished a distinguished 18-year career in the pros with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild, while tending goal for the Anaheim Ducks. His time in East Lansing still holds a number of NCAA records and you can find him mentioned throughout the top individual rankings to this day.
What a moment.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 9, 2021
Ryan Miller gets a standing ovation in his final NHL game. pic.twitter.com/Pk6mSfUpoe
Any Michigan State Spartans hockey fan out there instantly recognizes the last name of the Miller family. Just like how the Bullough name in football is easily recognized in East Lansing, the last name Miller is just as much, or arguably more distinguished and legendary. All told, 10 members of the Miller family, including Ryan, have played in East Lansing. Ryan and his cousin Kip both won the Hobey Baker Award, which is given to the NCAA’s top men’s ice hockey player. Kip won it in 1990 and Ryan in 2001.
Ryan Miller’s list of accomplishments extends far longer than just the Hobey Baker Award, though. He still holds the NCAA career shutout record (26) to this day; ranks second (2001, .950 percentage), 16th (2002, .936), and 23rd (2000, .932) in NCAA save percentage; fourth (2001, 1.32), 10th (2000, 1.53), and 23rd (2002, 1.77) in goals-against average; is tied for second (2001, 10) and twice tied for fifth (2000 and 2002, eight) in individual season shutouts; and still ranks first in save percentage in his career (2000-2002, .941).
In his pro career, Miller played in 796 career games in the NHL, posting a 391-289-88 record with a 2.63 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, and 44 shutouts. His 391 career wins is the most ever for an American goalie. Additionally, Miller owns the record for most shootout wins in a single season by a goaltender with 10.
Miller played for the Buffalo Sabres (and their AHL affiliate) from 2002 until 2014, when he was then traded to the St. Louis Blues. After becoming an unrestricted free agent, he signed that offseason with the Vancouver Canucks and played with them from 2014-2017 before finishing his career with the Anaheim Ducks from 2017-2021.
Ryan Miller shares an emotional moment with his parents after his last NHL game. pic.twitter.com/mEqAYk6Bkq— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) May 9, 2021
Miller also made the U.S. Hockey team three times, in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Miller was only a reserve at the 2006 Winter Olympics. However, he was the starter in the 2010 Winter Olympics and is largely responsible for the United State team taking home the silver medal. He won the International Ice Hockey Federation best goaltender honors and was named to the All-Star team while stopping 42 of 45 shots in the United States’ perfect 5-0 start in Vancouver in 2010. Then in 2014 at Sochi, Miller was named a backup but made 17 saves in a 5-1 win against Slovenia.
Miller had a long and accolades filled career in East Lansing and in the NHL. Here is to wishing him the best in retirement and sending a hearty thank you from those of us in Green and White.