NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attends a press conference attends a press conference prior to the 2022 NHL Global Series Ice Hockey match between Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets in Tampere, Finland, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. Credit: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva via AP

Signing with the Bruins doesn’t mean Mitchell Miller has a clear path to the NHL.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday that the Bruins didn’t consult the league before signing the controversial defenseman on Friday. Miller’s draft rights were renounced by the Arizona Coyotes following fan outrage in 2020 after details emerged about a pattern of racist and bullying behavior that the Sylvania, Ohio, native engaged in as a teenager.

Bettman said the Bruins can play him in Providence in the AHL but will need the league to clear him before calling him up.

“He’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL. I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL. If, at some point, they think they want him to play in the NHL, and I’m not sure they’re anywhere close to that point, we’re going to have to clear him and his eligibility.”

The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline posted Bettman’s full comments on the topic.

“What I understand and have heard through the media, what he did as a 14-year-old is reprehensible, unacceptable. Before the Bruins made the decision to sign him, we were not consulted. I happened to talk to Cam Neely since the time he was signed. He’s not coming into the NHL. He’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL. I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL. If, at some point, they think they want him to play in the NHL, and I’m not sure they’re anywhere close to that point, we’re going to have to clear him and his eligibility. It will be based on all the information that we get firsthand at the time. So the answer is: They were free to sign him to play somewhere else. That’s another organization. But nobody should think at this point he is or may ever be NHL eligible. And the Bruins understand that.”

Story by Matt Vautour, masslive.com