WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce their fourth player signing of the 2021 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed defenseman Matt Miller to an ECHL contract.
Miller, 25, is set to begin his second season with the Nailers, after he recorded five goals, ten assists, 15 points, and a team-best +7 rating in 42 games as a rookie. Matt showed early on that he was a strong two-way defenseman, and in early February, that play earned him a call-up to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. With his confidence continuing to rise, the blueliner returned to Wheeling later in the month, and promptly scored twice in a weekend series win over the Utah Grizzlies. Miller had another big weekend set against a Western foe less than a month later, as he exploded for two goals, five points, and 11 shots on goal when the Wichita Thunder came to town.
"Matt Miller got a taste of what it was like in the AHL last year, while also playing big minutes with us," said Nailers Head Coach Derek Army. He was a valuable player for us on the penalty kill, and he is the type of player that winning teams are founded on."
The native of East Palestine, Ohio has spent the majority of his hockey career in the tri-state area of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Matt and his older brother J.T. both grew up playing junior hockey for the Pittsburgh Hornets. Matt then went on to play three full seasons with the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL, before attending The Ohio State University for four years, where he majored in Information Systems, while playing for the Buckeyes. Miller led Ohio State in defensive scoring during three of his four seasons there, and was an NCAA (Big 10) All-Tournament Team selection as a sophomore in 2017-18.
"Last season, I got to dip my toes into the pro hockey life, which was a huge learning experience, so now I feel more prepared," Miller said. "I am excited to be close to home, I know what to expect from the coaches, and there are familiar faces on the team, which will make things a lot better from the start."
Matt Miller and the Wheeling Nailers will begin the team's 30th season in Fort Wayne on October 23rd, before the team plays its home opener against the Komets on Saturday, November 6th at 7:10. Season memberships are available, and fans can get more information by calling (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.