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Miller joins the Oilers

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

EDMONTON, AB - 11 days ago, Andrew Miller scored the first goal in Bakersfield Condors American Hockey League history, helping lift his team to a 1-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings affiliate (Grand Rapids). Flash forward to the present, and the forward is up in Edmonton skating on a line with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Photo by Andy Devlin | Edmonton Oilers

With injuries to both Jordan Eberle (shoulder) and Matt Hendricks (foot), the Oilers needed help on the wing. They recalled Miller from Bakersfield on Monday and immediately inserted the 27-year-old Michigan native on the right side of their top line.

“It’s great to be back here. I’m excited to play,” said Miller. “Those two guys are phenomenal players and dynamic. Hopefully, I will be able to read off them and use some speed and make some plays.”

Miller makes sense in that role, given his propensity to create offence. Miller led the Oilers affiliate in scoring last season with 60 points in 63 games, including a team and career-high 27 goals.

“I think Andrew, and he proved it throughout training camp, has a sense of offence, holding onto the puck and creating,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “It’s not always just a chip-and-chase game with him, although he’ll need that in some of his game. We’re looking for a more of a playmaking ability to put him in that spot and we’ll give him that opportunity.”

A four-year standout and former captain at Yale, Miller came to the Oilers as an undrafted college free agent in April of 2013, following a championship run with the Bulldogs. He made his NHL debut on March 18, 2015 against Columbus. He went on to play a total of nine games for the Oilers last season, in which he recorded six points (1-5-6).

Miller became the first player in Oilers franchise history to score his first NHL goal on a penalty shot, when he potted one on March 27, against Dallas, in only his fifth game.

Photo by Andy Devlin | Edmonton Oilers

His experience at the tail end of last season sets him up well for a return to NHL action.

“Coming up and playing a few games last year is definitely helpful and I learned a few things,” said Miller. “I think each game is a stepping stone. I try to learn off each practice as well. Last year is last year. I’ll just try to play my game every day when I’m here.”

Miller will be thrown to the fire with Hall and Nugent-Hopkins. The two are second and fourth respectfully when it comes to average time on ice per game.

“He’s a very dynamic player,” said Nugent-Hopkins. “He’s obviously very quick, he thinks the game really well. Hopefully, the chemistry comes pretty quick. Me and Hallsy will help him out as much as we can, but I think he picks things up pretty quick.”

For Miller, he’ll try to stay within himself no matter who he’s lined up next to.

Shoot the puck when I get the chance and read off them,” Miller said of his plan of attack. “They’re good players, they know the game well and if I can read off them well I think things will go well.”

11 days ago, Miller scored the game-winning goal against the Red Wings affiliate. On Wednesday, he suits up against the actual NHL club when Detroit comes to Rexall Place.

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