The St. Louis Blues had a front office role to fill. They picked a name fans are familiar with, but the person does not match expectation.
A headline featuring the St. Louis Blues signing Ryan Miller as their new assistant general manager is sure to grab some attention. However, the reality does not match what initially jumps to mind if you read that and nothing else.
The Blues have hired Ryan Miller for that position. It’s just not the Ryan Miller you’re thinking of.
Most fans might automatically think of the Miller that was an elite NHL goaltender for several years, including a brief stint with the Blues. It would not be the first time the Blues gave a front office position to a well known goalie who had a cup of coffee in the Note after Martin Brodeur held that same spot.
However, this Miller is much more mundane, and that’s not a knock on him. It’s just he is purely from the office side of the game.
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Miller has actually been with the Blues for a decade already. As pointed out in the team press release, Miller was already working on contract negotiations, helping to keep the team salary cap compliant and also preparing the team for players who might seek arbitration.
Now, he gets a more official title (presumably the salary too) to go with those responsibilities. While this is not as flashy as hiring a former player, it is a worthy way to reward someone who has been loyal to both the team and Doug Armstrong over the years.
Miller is only 36, but he has put in the time.
After having a hockey lifer like Bill Armstrong in that role previously, some fans might balk at the idea of having someone who studied criminal justice and law. Miller got into hockey almost immediately after school, though, and has been Director of Hockey Operations and Licensing and Director of Hockey Administration since graduating.
Miller is not just some guy that wandered into the Blues office either. Armstrong sought him out and he’s been noticed by people around the league.
The Athletic named him one of Hockey’s 40 Under 40, which showcased the best young names in the sport who are not on the ice. The list includes Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas and Head Coach Sheldon Keefe and Chicago Blackhawks Head Coach Jeremy Colliton, just to give you an idea of the company Miller is in.
What extra/new responsibilities Miller is given will be up to Armstrong. It is highly unlikely he takes on any scouting duties that Bill Armstrong vacated, so this hire means the Blues will probably add to their scouting staff. There is a prominent name Army is looking at, but his future is undecided right now.
Congratulations to Miller on his promotion. And just as an f.y.i., the other Miller has not yet retired, so he may still strap on the pads for someone in 2021.