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Trying out with the Barons
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Oktober 12, 2001; 00:32
Trying out with the Barons
Craig Millar could give Munich’s defense much-needed depth
Frank Johne

 


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Munich, Germany - Last Friday, Barons sports director Max Fedra remarked that Munich’s final open roster spot might be filled rather sooner than later. Now, only a couple of days later, 25-year-old defenseman Craig Millar has arrived in Munich for tryouts.
 

114 NHL games: Craig Millar
Leading DEL Scorers
(as of Feb 19, 2005)

Millar was a teammate of Barons forwards Derek King and Dave Oliver with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season. He played 12 games for the IHL club (1 goal, 2 assists, 2 penalty minutes).

The Manitoba-native had started 2000-01 with the Nashville Predators of the NHL (5 games, 0 points, 6 penalty minutes) before being claimed on waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning in October. After 16 games with the Lightning (1 goal, 1 assists, 2 penalty minutes), he was traded to the Ottawa Senators for John Emmons in March 2001. He also appeared in 11 games for the IHL's Detroit Vipers last year.

Much-needed depth on defense

After not being offered a new contract by the Senators, Millar decided to pursue his career overseas and started out 2001-02 with Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia.

"We decided to begin the current season with seven defensemen on the roster,” Barons sports director Fedra explained. “We wanted to give our German youngsters (Christoph Schubert, Patrick Köppchen) a decent chance.”

However the current situation urged Fedra to at least take a closer look at Millar. After surgery on his injured groin, designated starter Kent Fearns probably won’t be back before the end of the month. Troubled by a meniscus injury, fellow-defenseman Jason Herter has been in and out of the lineup since preseason.

Millar: Offense-minded, 114 NHL games

During five NHL seasons, Millar played a total of 114 games with Edmonton, Nashville and Tampa Bay, tallying 8 goals, 14 assists and 73 penalty minutes. He has excellent mobility for a 6’2”, 205-pound (188 cm, 91 kg) rearguard, and very sound offensive instincts. As a result, he tends to neglect work in the defensive zone now and then, though. He also has to try to play more physical sometimes.

Born July 12, 1976 in Winnipeg, Manitoba/Canada, Millar was originally drafted 225th overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. On March 18, 1997, Craig was traded to the Edmonton Oilers (with Barrie Moore in exchange for Miroslav Satan). He made his NHL debut versus Tampa Bay a day later and scored his first NHL goal against the NY Islanders on November 5, 1997. A quite successful day actually, as he added his second career goal during the same contest.

After appearing in 35 games for the Oilers (4 goals, 2 assists, 27 penalty minutes), Craig was traded to the Nashville Predators for a third round draft pick in June 1999. That season, he played 57 games, registering 3 goals, 11 assists, 28 penalty minutes, 56 hits and 38 blocked shots.

WHL All-Star as a junior

The 25-year-old Millar made his major junior debut in 1992-93 with the Swift Current Broncos and played 42 games as a Western Hockey League (WHL) rookie. After scoring 11 points from the blueline in 1993-94, Craig improved to 50 points in 1994-95. In 1995-96, Craig scored 77 points as was a WHL East First Team All-Star. Craig then turned pro in 1996-97 with the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League and scored 25 points in 64 games.

After his March trade to the Oilers organization, Craig joined the Hamilton Bulldogs and finished the season with four more points in ten games. In 1997-98, Craig played 60 games and scored 32 points for the Bulldogs. In 1998-99, he played only 43 AHL games but scored 20 points.

In 1999-2000, Craig joined the Nashville Predators' AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals, and scored six points in just eight games.
Frank Johne

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