Veteran Has Scored More Than 100 NHL Points Since His 2002 Departure
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
Kip Miller is proof that you can indeed go home again. The Michigan native and 15-year veteran signed an American Hockey League contract with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday, returning to both the team and league that he led in scoring before departing for the NHL nearly three years ago.
Miller is expected to be in the Griffins lineup tonight when they host the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in a 6 oclock start at Van Andel Arena.
The 35-year-old center totaled 81 points (21-6081) in 138 games with the Washington Capitals over the last two seasons, including a 2002-03 campaign during which he recorded a personal NHL-best of 50 points (12-3850) in 72 contests. His most recent NHL run began on Jan. 16, 2002, when he left the Griffins to sign with the New York Islanders, for whom he would contribute 24 points (7-1724) in 37 games over that seasons stretch run.
Miller was in the process of rewriting Grand Rapids record books when he last wore a Griffins sweater during that 2001-02 campaign. Selected to participate in the 2002 AHL All-Star Classic, he was leading the league with 56 points, 35 assists and five game-winning goals (tied) through just 41 games, and stood among the circuits best with three shorthanded tallies (T3rd) and a 0.216 shooting percentage (5th).
On Jan. 10, 2002, six days prior to leaving the Griffins, Miller set a franchise record with six points (2-46) in a 7-3 thumping of Chicago at Allstate Arena. Despite playing barely half of the AHL season, he still sat atop the Griffins scoring chart at years end, as he set team records for both assists per game (0.85) and scoring average (1.37).
Upon Millers signing with the Islanders, the Griffins owned the AHLs best record at 24-14-3-0, and their offense was among the leagues most potent, scoring 3.37 goals per game (3rd) and converting 20.1 percent of its power play opportunities (T6th). Without him in their lineup, the Griffins scoring average dropped 40 percent (2.03) and their power play rate plummeted 49 percent (10.2%), as they posted an 18-13-8-0 mark over the final 39 games.
Kip became the third Miller brother (Kevin and Kelly) to play for the Griffins when he was assigned by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Feb. 5, 2001. He ranked as Grand Rapids second-leading scorer over the final three months of the 2000-01 season, totaling 35 points (16-1935) in 34 games. Miller tied Pavol Demitras franchise record with a six-game goal scoring streak from Feb. 14-23, and went on to lead the team with 13 playoff points (5-813).
In 75 regular season games over his two partial seasons (2000-02) with the Griffins, Miller racked up 91 points (37-5491), giving him the most points per game in franchise history (1.21). He ranks among the teams all-time leaders with 54 assists (10th) and five shorthanded goals (T3rd), and needs just two points to tie Ivan Ciernik for tenth on the all-time scoring list.
A former Hobey Baker Award winner at Michigan State (1990) and IHL Turner Cup Playoff MVP with Denver (1995), Miller has appeared in 449 NHL games for eight teams during his illustrious career, accumulating 239 points (74-165239).