The Brandon Wheat Kings have announced that veteran defenceman Ryley Miller has been released and will be placed on Western Hockey League waivers by the club.
Tuesday’s decision leaves the WHL club with three 20-year old players on its active roster – forwards Michael Ferland and Nick Buonassisi as well as defenceman Tyler Yaworski.
All WHL clubs will now have the next 48 hours to put a claim in on the 6' 177 lb. Spruce Grove, Alberta native.
In 38 games with the Wheat Kings this season, Miller had three goals, six points and 99 minutes in penalties.
A former second round bantam draft choice of the Wheat Kings, Miller played in 241 games for the Wheat Kings, scoring eight goals and 37 points while accumulating 537 minutes in penalties.
"We made the move based on the fact that we felt it was in the best interest of our hockey team," Brandon general manager Kelly McCrimmon told me on Tuesday afternoon, "When you weigh all factors with where our team is at, the makeup of our team, sometimes players that have been in your organization a long time, circumstances change and we just felt it was time to part ways."
The timing of Miller's release makes a lot of sense, and I doubt it'll make any difference on whether Michael Ferland is moved prior to Thursday's Western Hockey League trade deadline.
What it does do is create the opportunity for the Wheat Kings to welcome a 20-year old back in return for Ferland, if they so desire, and would create the chance for the team to negotiate with a broader ranger of teams and not just those who haven't filled all the 20-year old spots.
"It's just an independant decision. I don't know if it's meaningful in predicting what we may or may not do prior to Thursday." added McCrimmon
It also gives other WHL teams a chance to pick up Miller (using the 48-hour waiver period) before January 10th, which is also the carding deadline. If no team does, it also gives Miller the chance to join a Junior A team prior to their January 10th carding deadline.