Ex-NHLer Ryan Miller ‘happy’ to see pal Jonathan Quick set to pass all-time US goalie wins record

TEMPE, Ariz. — It’s a happy and a sad time for Ryan Miller, who has held the record for the most wins by an American-born goaltender for five years at 391. 

So he says. 

But when you ask Miller about the goalie who has a chance to dethrone him if he earns the start on Saturday against the Coyotes, the Rangers’ Jonathan Quick, the immense respect, admiration and personal friendship the 43-year-old Miller has for him is all that comes through. 

Ryan Miller (right) has held the record for the most wins by an American-born goaltender for five years. Paul J. Bereswill

“It’s just recognizing that both of us have become friends over the years and so I’ve always enjoyed competing against him,” Miller told The Post over the phone on Friday.

“I really enjoyed our time as teammates on the [U.S.] national team. Also being parents of teammates, our sons played some hockey together over the years. We’ve seen all sides of it. I am happy for him, for sure. 

“From the USA hockey element, we’re representing the country and I’m just happy that I was a part of something that moved something forward. It’s something that you hope continues to move forward because it shows the success that we built as Americans playing hockey.” 

To Miller, and so many others, Quick represented a new generation of goaltenders.

He brought a new style into the league, which coupled with his competitive nature, forged a sort of level to the goaltending position that hadn’t been seen before. 

The two went head-to-head in the NHL for 15 years, with Quick playing for the Kings and Miller making the rounds in Buffalo, St. Louis, Vancouver and Anaheim.

The rivalry games between the Kings and Ducks stick out to Miller, but Quick thinks back on their time with USA Hockey. 

Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick deflects the puck while defenseman Chad Ruhwedel defends in the first period against the Bruins. AP

Quick was the third-string netminder behind Miller and Tim Thomas during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, where the United States won a silver medal after losing to Canada in the final game. 

“Watching [Miller] and how dominant of a player he was, as a young kid just kind of finding his way in the league and watching him play like that, that was a lot of fun,” Quick told The Post after an optional practice at Mullett Arena on Friday. 

The 38-year-old Quick has enjoyed a resurgence in his game in his first season with the Rangers, who have benefited tremendously from having a future Hall of Famer as their backup netminder behind Igor Shesterkin. 

They will benefit for at least one more year after extending Quick through 2024-25 at $1.275 million. 

Among the top-10 goaltenders, who have made a minimum of 20 starts, in save percentage (.916) and goals-against average (2.44), Quick has simply looked timeless in the crease this season. 

Miller considered Quick to be a trendsetter with the way he integrates into the post, a tactic used to cover off the lower part of the net.

Quick’s explosiveness and ability to recover into other situations, however, had a major impact on what is now considered the modern way to play goalie. 

“Our goalie coach in LA, Billy Ranford, earlier in our career we had some difficulty with the Sedins [Henrik and Daniel], who were at the time the best in the league around the net, behind the net, the short little pass outs,” Quick said of this aspect of his game. “Us, like most of the league, had difficulty figuring out how to play that and so that’s something that we worked on, on how to handle their two-man, three-man game from behind the net and around the net. 

“It’s just something that we developed together. What was comfortable playing those situations. [Vancouver] beat us in the [2010] playoffs, maybe the year before, we were kind of preparing like they’re the team to beat here in the West. So we’re like, ‘All right how do we beat them?’ We kind of developed it that way. 

“It ends up being a way to play those low little plays that work for a lot of different teams and situations.” 

From opponents, to teammates, to opponents again, Quick and Miller can now be found watching their sons, Carter and Bodhi, play on the same youth hockey team together.

Jonathan Quick made history in the Rangers win over the Bruins this week. Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

At one point, both kids played goalie, but now only Quick’s son is all in on the position. 

They simply enjoy that time as friends and dads, which has added a unique layer to this passing of the baton. 

Quick said Miller sent him a text after the Boston game when he hit 391 wins. 

It’s safe to assume Miller wouldn’t have anybody else break his record. 

“I think we’ve had a moment here in the last five or 10 years where things have shifted in the development of American goalies,” said Miller, who now serves as a goalie scout and goaltending development coach for the Sharks.

“Has installed some guys who are currently having a lot of success. I know that working with USA hockey a little bit, I know that our goal is to keep enabling that development. Goaltending is a tough one. You wonder why certain regions have enjoyed success of putting out goaltenders and you wonder what that all means and you wonder why other areas that traditionally produce a lot of goalies may not be anymore. 

“That’s part of the mystery, but I think USA has done it right and they’ve been really supportive of the position. It’s only right that we see records like this increase.”

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