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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Lost Rookies: 1986-87 OPC Jay Miller

  When I think of 1980s enforcers, I think of Jay Miller.  Miller and Bruins had legendary battles against Chris Nilan and John Kordic of the Montreal Canadiens.  So I was surprised when I learned Miller never had a rookie card until the 1990 Junk Wax boom, after he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings.  And even then, only Upper Deck was the only set that included Miller in 1990.  So that makes Jay a perfect candidate for the Lost Cards and Lost Rookies.
  Miller was originally drafted 66th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1980 NHL Entry draft. Three picks later, the Oilers draft Jarri Kurri at 69th overall.  Miller was attending the University of New Hampshire and continued to play there until he graduated in 1983.  He played a handful of games with the Fredicton Express, the Nordiques AJL affiliate, before being traded to the Minnesota North Stars.  After a season in the North Stars minor league system, he was released.
  Miller, who was born near Boston, attended the Boston Bruins 1985 training camp and impressed the team with his toughness.  He was signed to a contract on October 1st, 1985 was sent to the minors to begin the season.  After notching 10 points and 113 PIM in 18 games, he was called up to the NHL.  In his first NHL game, on November 23, 1985, Miller fights Dave Brown.  He scores his first career goal against Tom Barrasso of the Buffalo Sabres on December 2nd, 1985.  Miller finishes his rookie season with 3 goals, 0 assists and 178 PIM in 46 games.

1987-88 OPC Jay Miller

  Miller played 3 and half seasons with the Bruins. He was at the forefront of many Adam division battles.  During his his three full seasons with the Bruins, he had 436 PIM in 79 games, for 5.5 PIM per game, against Adam division opponents.  Against all other divisions, he had 254 PIM in 100 games or 2.5 PIM per game.  Divisional play was fierce during the late 1980s.  Miller was on the ice for the NHL's last in-game bench clearing brawl, Bruins versus the Quebec Nordiques on February 26, 1987.
  Miller set a career high with 304 PIM during the 1987-88 season.  Good for 6th highest in the NHL that season.  The Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup finals, but lost in 1988.  Miller was injured in the first round but returned in the third round.  He still managed to accumulate 124 PIM in 12 games, which led all players.

1988-89 OPC Jay Miller 

  Miller was traded to the Los Angeles Kings during the 1988-89 season.  He was the future considerations in a Bobby Carpenter for Steve Kasper deal.  Miller finished the season 6th in PIM, with 301.

1989-90 OPC Jay Miller

  Playing as Wayne Gretzky's bodyguard came with perks.  Miller set a career high with 10 goals in 1989-90 and then with 20 points in 1990-91.  Miller, now 32, was battling a bacterial infection during the 1992 training camp was cut by the Los Angeles Kings.  Unable to get signed by another team, Miller retired.

1992-93 OPC Jay Miller

  Over his seven year career, Miller only got seven NHL cards.  None as a Bruin, and none during the 1992-93 sets.  His 1990-91 Upper Deck is his lone rookie card, which is odd for a player during the junk wax boom.  So he has a career capper above, but below is his 1986-87 OPC Lost Rookie.

1986-87 OPC #277 Jay Miller (RC)

1986-87 OPC #277 Jay Miller (RC)


  1. Kudos for giving some of these forgotten tough guys their well-earned cardboard! The 1986-87 OPC version is my favorite.

    1. It's surprising so many of them didn't make the cut during the late 80s. A lot of these guys were fan favourites.