Building the Herd – Joe Miller

#23 Joe Miller

Position: Forward

Born: Caerdydd, Wales

Announced as signed: Meet the coach night, 2nd May

 

After letting Tony Redmond leave the stage to a rapturous applause upon announcing him captain, Bison coach Doug Sheppard took the mic back and announced the latest player to return to the Herd in the new order was top points scorer, Joe Miller.

Having joined the Bison from Manchester Phoenix off the back of winning the EPL title in 2010/11, Miller quickly endeared himself to the Bison faithful with his goalscoring and his gritty style of play. He proved to be a very good two way player as well as hitting the back of the net 30 times and adding 37 assists on his way to 67 points and finishing top of the Herd’s scoring list.

Miller, a former EPL grandslam winner with Peterborough is entering his 9th season in the EPL where he has scored 423 points in 320 games which works out at 1.32 points a game with the Bison, Manchester, Peterborough and Telford in both the Tigers and Wildfoxes format. He also spent 1 full season in the EIHL with Manchester in 2006/07 where he scored 11 points in 54 games.

If you’d asked people to quickly reel off the Bison players they wanted back from the 2011/12 season, Joe Miller will have been close to the top of most peoples’ lists along with Reynolds. Miller was the outstanding forward of the Bison season, over and above all 3 imports. His contributions earned him the player’s player of the season award which shows how his own team mates valued his contribution to the side.

Miller’s obvious strength is in his offensive prowess. By my maths, 30 goals has Joe as the 3rd top British goal scorer in the EPL behind Aaron Nell of Swindon and Leigh Jamieson of MK Lightning. In Daniel Volrab, Miller found his natural foil. Volrab fed Miller and Miller put them in and occasionally vice versa. With Sheppard announcing Miller’s likely line partner (more on him tomorrow) it seems like the coach is intent on providing the top goal scorer with as many chances as he can possibly get to add to that total.

However Miller’s game was more than just goal scoring. He was also very handy on the forecheck and was never shy to get into the corners to dig the puck out when others wouldn’t. He also proved himself a very underrated penalty killer into the bargain as well, often making one man breaks up the ice or often being a one man forecheck and just being an outright pest as teams tried to break out of their zone and set up the powerplay.

Miller, like Redmond and Reynolds was a no brainer of a signing. Whether Moria or Sheppard was coaching this season they were always going to be speaking to Miller about getting him back in Basingstoke for the new campaign. The team is going to have a very new look about it but given some of what Sheppard was saying it seems like the responsibility will be on Miller to go out and score goals whilst being a good two way player. It’s the sort of responsibility that Miller seems to relish. When he signed from Manchester, Phoenix fans said that he’d not looked that interested but they’d been playing a player with a top 6 forward skills set on a checking line. For all the complaints that people had about Moria’s coaching, he let Miller go out and do what he does best and he ended up as top scorer as a result.

Tomorrow we look at the man that Sheppard said will be lining up alongside him.

Welcome back Joe, hopefully the new linemates bring the magic.

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