With the draft officially done and free agency just around the corner, let’s take a look at Colin Miller, a defenceman the Vancouver Canucks should target in a trade.
The Vancouver Canucks didn’t select a defenceman in the draft this year. They are also rumoured to be gearing up to make a strong push for unrestricted free agent defencemen Tyler Myers and Jake Gardiner. Rather than overpay for a free agent on July 1st, the Canucks should look long at hard at Vegas Golden Knights’ defenceman Colin Miller.
This past weekend, the Canucks showed everyone why it’s more worthwhile to trade for players on relatively team-friendly contracts rather than show up with their chequebooks on July 1st. They acquired J.T. Miller in a trade early Saturday morning, and while some fans may not approve of the deal due to the first round pick the Canucks gave up, the team has more cap room as a result. Allow me to explain.
A top six forward who is a good comparable to Miller is Kevin Hayes, who as I wrote just a week ago, received a massive payday from the Philadelphia Flyers, in the form of a seven-year deal with an annual average salary of $7.142 million. That is a much less team friendly deal than Miller’s $5.25 million deal which has four years remaining on it. To get a similar player on a much better deal, the Canucks had to part ways with a first round pick. I’ll take that over Loui Eriksson 2.0.
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There are many reasons why I think the Canucks should pursue Colin Miller. The main one being that Vegas needs cap space and are believed to be shopping Miller. Additionally, the two-way styled Miller would be a great fit for the Canucks blueline, and they would only be committing $3.875 million to him for the next three seasons.
That gives ample amount of time for Jett Woo, Brogan Rafferty and whichever other young right-handed defencemen the team acquires, to develop into full-time NHL’ers. Three years sounds a lot better than the likely deal the Canucks would have to dish out to Myers, which would likely be north of five years and $6 million per year.
Miller would be a player that could instantly give the Canucks a boost on the back end, without costing them too much in terms of the future. The Knights are currently over the salary cap — which was recently announced at $81.5 million for the upcoming season. They recently re-signed William Karlsson, and just yesterday traded Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes, in turn freeing up $2.75 million in cap space. That being said, they are still above the salary cap, thus more work lies ahead.
To free up more cap space, Vegas could look to attach the David Clarkson contract to a trade with the Canucks. Clarkson’s deal currently has one year remaining on it, with a cap hit of $5.25 million. The Canucks, with Roberto Luongo’s cap recapture penalty now included, are projected to have roughly $15.5 million in cap space.
They still need to re-sign Brock Boeser and a few other free agents, but by buying out the contract of Ryan Spooner for example, the Canucks can free up over $2 million dollars. Depending on what the Canucks send the other way to Vegas, that could free up some cap space soon. While making this deal might mean no big game hunting on July 1st, I think taking on the contract of Clarkson and getting Miller as well is a deal that the Canucks should seriously consider.
While I still believe that Tyler Myers could give us some solid years if he comes here, signing him in the 7-8 million dollar range for a long term contract just seems like something that the Canucks should shy away from. Taking on Miller’s team-friendly contract for the next three seasons and Clarkson’s for just one seems like a much safer route that the Canucks can take.