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AHL stars still shining: Ryan Miller

A collegiate standout at Michigan State, goaltender Ryan Miller emerged onto the National Hockey League scene during the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs by leading the Sabres within one game of the Finals. He recorded 30 wins and a 2.60 goals-against average in 48 regular-season games in his first full season in the NHL.

But before his quick rise to stardom in Buffalo, Miller was a two-time American Hockey League All-Star, representing the Rochester Americans in 2004 and 2005.

At age 22, he entered his professional career with the Amerks in 2002-03, posting a 23-18-5 record and 2.34 GAA while also appearing in 15 games for Buffalo. Miller then appeared in 60 games for the Amerks in 2003-04, going 27-25-7 with a 2.21 GAA and leading Rochester to the AHL’s Western Conference finals.

In 2004-05, Miller continued to develop his skills with the Americans during the NHL lockout. He won a league-high 41 games, becoming the first AHL goaltender with 40 wins since Gerry Cheevers in 1964-65. He posted eight shutouts to go with his 41-17-4 record, made his second straight AHL All-Star Classic appearance and took home the Baz Bastien Award as the AHL’s outstanding goaltender.

Now 26, Miller has solidified his place among the world’s best goaltenders. He is currently tied for fourth in the NHL with 21 wins and his 2.60 GAA and .915 save percentage have the Sabres on top of the Eastern Conference with a record of 29-8-3 heading into Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs.

Of the 394 players to take part in the AHL All-Star Classic since 1995, more than 93 percent have competed in the National Hockey League, including Patrice Bergeron, Brad Boyes, Daniel Briere, Jonathan Cheechoo, Pavol Demitra, Rick DiPietro, Patrik Elias, Ray Emery, Miikka Kiprusoff, Kari Lehtonen, Dwayne Roloson, Martin St. Louis, Jason Spezza, Eric Staal, Steve Sullivan and Kyle Wellwood.

The 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic will take place at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto, home of the AHL’s Marlies. The event features the 2007 CCM AHL All-Star Skills Competition on Sunday, January 28 (7:00 ET) and the 2007 AHL All-Star Game on Monday, January 29 (7:00 ET), and will be televised live on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada and on a network of regional broadcast partners in the United States.

For ticket and event information, visit http://www.torontomarlies.com/news/07allstargame.asp