NHL insiders and Sportsnet analyst Elliotte Friedman was a guest on the Donnie & Dhali show and was asked about what really happened between the Vancouver Canucks and J.T. Miller just ahead of this season’s NHL Trade Deadline. There was a ton of chatter that Miller might be moved to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but ultimately, nothing materialized.
Rick Dhaliwal then pointed out that Miller has been solid under new head coach Rick Tocchet and wondered if the coach and the player have a newfound respect for each other, enough to want to keep the relationship going. Miller was recently quoted as saying, “I think that we’ve kind of moved on as a team, we understand who we’re going to be for the most part moving forward. It’s fun to come to the rink again. It’s very fresh around here.” That likely won’t stop trade rumors over the summer.
Miller has a no-trade clause as part of his new extension that begins on July 1 and there is speculation that the Canucks — who need to clear cap space this offseason — might try to move him if there’s interest from other teams before that no-trade clause kicks in. Friedman was asked about it and responded that just because Tocchet might say he’d like to keep Miller, it doesn’t mean Jim Rutherford and Patrik Allvin will listen. There were many in the organization who didn’t want to trade Luke Schenn but the Canucks got the price they were seeking and moved him. If the same happens with Miller, the Canucks would likely trade him too.
Friedman went on to say that there were a couple of reasons the rumored trade between the Canucks and Penguins didn’t happen. First, the Canucks wanted a young center back and the Pens didn’t have one to give. Second, there were players coming back to Vancouver that the organization didn’t want to keep full time and the club needed to know they could move the players.
Tocchet’s Opinion Of Miller Might Be Irrelevant in All of This
Friedman finished by arguing that the Canucks won’t move Miller unless they get the return they want out of a trade. And, when you consider a new seven-year contract at a value of $8 million per season is what a team will have to trade for, there might not be many takers out there, especially considering news of the salary cap going up only $1 million was seemingly confirmed out of the GM meetings this week.
If the Canucks can’t move Miller, the more likely scenario that plays out is one Thomas Drance of The Athletic described in a column this week. He noted in a recent mailbag segment that when the Canucks try to clear cap space, one of the ways they’ll likely look to do so is through buyouts. He suggested Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Brock Boeser, and Conor Garland could be worth watching and candidates if trades are not made early in the offseason. The buyout window opens on June 15th.
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