It’s been well documented and discussed throughout the Montreal Canadiens media that Carey Price is unofficially retired. With that, the team has been forced to turn a new leaf and find the next goaltender to take the torch and run with it. There are a couple of guys in the mix for the job, and the next few years will be especially important, yesterday we all got our first viewing of Quentin Miller.
Unlike the first rookie game, the Canadiens flipped the script and for the most part, shut down the Boston Bruins offence. Miller’s strong play was the story of the game, he played with poise and his rebound control was masterful. The team in front of him played much better than the team that Jakub Dobes had in front of him against the Buffalo Sabres, but Miller’s performance instilled confidence in the team.
He was asked during a post-game scrum about the road he would have to take to the NHL and the internal competition that he would have to battle for a spot. Much like his calm and cool play on the ice, Miller shrugged it off and emphasized the confidence that he has in his own game. A very mature and confident mentality from the young goaltender is impressive, and he remains focused on what he can control, his play during the upcoming season and beyond.
The mental game is perhaps the biggest part of being a goaltender, and some goalies can be seen getting heated or even letting the opposition throw them off. Goalies are also late bloomers, and their prime years are a little later than the other positions. So while the depth chart might look as though there are a lot of obstacles, Miller’s focus on his own play should aid him well in his development.
Another factor, while it hasn’t been discussed. is the fact that he wasn’t mentioned in the group of the 2023 Draft’s best players. Gaining attention as a goaltender is tough because there are so few when compared with the other positions, so being overlooked can develop a chip on a goalie’s shoulder. If the fuel from that can be used in a positive way to motivate the goaltender, it can play in their favour.
So while it was only one game, a rule of thumb as a backstopper is taking things one game at a time, and keeping things in stride. Control what you can, and let things unfold as they will. A tall task admittedly, but if anybody can achieve it, it’s a goalie, and Miller will look to do just that.
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