Canucks: J.T. Miller needs to find consistency

J.T. Miller was one of the best Vancouver Canucks last season. In 69 games he scored 27 goals and 72 points which was on pace for 32 goals and 85 assists in a full 82 game season. He was a big part of the Canucks “Lotto Line” and the team’s power play success. His offensive abilities, as well as defensive abilities, were put on display in the regular season and in the playoffs.

Miller was acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for Marek Mazanec, a third-round pick in 2019 and 2020 first. (Conditional at the time and that pick has been traded to the New Jersey Devils which was used to select Shakir Mukhamadullin.) The trade didn’t go well with everyone and those who criticized it at the time were soon silenced by Miller’s play.

This season, despite having four goals and 16 points and being third in Canucks scoring behind Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes, Miller looks like a different player from last season. It’s like those aliens from Space Jam took his talent.

His play has frustrated fans, particularly on Twitter after the Canucks lost 2-0 to the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night.

Miller’s Concerns

Miller has made some careless plays this season. Here is one example from Friday night against the Jets. He decides to skate with the puck in front of his net instead of going behind and looking for a pass almost giving it away.

His effort or lack thereof has been quite alarming this season especially on the backcheck. Here, he put almost zero effort into stopping Auston Matthews.

Below, Miller just stops skating while Mark Scheifele goes flying to score a goal.

As for the rest of the Canucks this season, turnovers have been killing them. Miller has been giving the puck away 12 times this season which is the fifth most on the Canucks. Many of those giveaways have been glaring and have led to goals against.

Miller has been quite careless with the puck this season and looks like he has a tough time holding on to it.  His defensive play hasn’t been quite the same either as he is easily letting players skate by him.

While he is putting points, he has been drying up offensively too. Miller has been missing glorious opportunities, giving the puck away in the offensive zone and seems unsure of what to do with the puck as shown late in the third period of Friday’s game where instead of passing or shooting he held onto the puck and just seconds later the Jets scored on the empty netter.

Miller has a 46.42 Corsi For Percentage (seventh-worst on Canucks) and 4.3 goals against at five on five (fourth-worst on the team).

Miller needs to find consistency

It hasn’t been all bad for Miller.  He has helped put up some offence but the Canucks need to see the player from last season.  It has come back but needs to be around often.

Miller is the engine that drives the “Lotto Line” as they really struggled when he was out on the COVID-19 protocol list for the first few games of the season. When he gets going, Elias Pettersson and Boeser follow suit.

Something seems “off” with Miller this season, especially with his puck handling and passing. Fans have noticed him looking so out of it on the ice and you have to wonder if Miller might be going through something, dealing with an injury or if this is just a slump. Whatever it is, the Canucks are going to need him to figure it out as soon as possible.

If this poor form continues, maybe Miller could be bumped down a line to send a message.

It is frustrating to see Miller makes these glaring mistakes but he needs to bring more effort and try to get some more offence going. He is better than this.

We know what Miller is capable of but he needs to start playing like the player we all know he is.

*Stats Courtesy of NaturalStatTrick and HockeyReference