Canucks Report: Could J.T. Miller be heading to Minnesota?

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 22: JT Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates during NHL action against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena on March 22, 2021 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 22: JT Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates during NHL action against the Winnipeg Jets at Rogers Arena on March 22, 2021 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

First comes moral victory season, then comes trade rumour season for the Vancouver Canucks.

On Monday evening, Canucks reporter Ben Kuzma took to Twitter, sharing that the Minnesota Wild have shown interest in forward J.T. Miller.

Despite Vancouver’s current downward spiral, Miller has been one of the team’s more consistent offensive players, notching seven goals and 12 assists in 19 games, including four multi-point outings.

He has only been held off the scoresheet five times this year, which has led to his impressive point-per-game pace early on in the season, and would be a huge addition to any team’s top-six forward rotation.

The 28-year-old Ohio native has two years left on his five-year, $26.25 million contract that he inked with the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2018-19, bringing his current cap hit to just $5.25 million per season until the end of 2022-23.

Since arriving in Vancouver, Miller has notched 49 goals and 88 assists in 141 games, which was highlighted by career-highs in goals (27), assists (45) and points (72) back in 2019-20.

Miller also led the team in scoring that season, six points ahead of centre Elias Pettersson. He finished second in team scoring the following year with 46 points, only behind Brock Boeser, who previously used to be the main character of the trade rumour talks with Minnesota.

Kuzma went on to report that the Wild would likely have to part ways with forward Kevin Fiala in a potential Miller deal.

The 25-year-old winger was originally selected 11th overall by the Nashville Predators in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Fiala played just under three full seasons in Nashville, registering 45 goals and 52 assists in 204 contests before being dealt to Minnesota at the trade deadline in 2018-19.

Fiala initially performed quite well in Minnesota, establishing career-highs in assists (31) and points (54) during his first full year with his new club, while also matching his personal best goal production with 23.

Fiala’s production dipped slightly the following year, where he only registered 40 points in 50 games, but was still second in team scoring behind rookie sensation Kirill Kaprizov.

Fiala is off to another slow start this season, having only notched three goals and nine assists in 18 games but, at only 25 years old, does still have some elite offensive potential.

Fiala signed a one-year, $5.1 million bridge deal with Minnesota prior to the 2021-22 season.

Despite what Fiala could bring to the table if given a change of scenery in Vancouver, the Canucks would still need to squeeze much more out of Minnesota in order for this deal to be fair if it ever came to fruition.

Most fans would love Minnesota to also include prospect Matthew Boldy, who was drafted 12th overall back in 2019, but the 20-year-old winger is expected to be a lethal long-term option for the Wild.

Kuzma went on to report that Minnesota would likely try to add on big-bodied forward Jordan Greenway, who is on the last year of his two-year, $4.2 million deal, but the Canucks would need to sort out their financial situation with forwards Tyler Motte and Juho Lammikko first.

The most-likely and, quite frankly, best scenario for the Canucks would be to acquire a high draft pick for the upcoming offseason. Vancouver was able to re-acquire their 2022 third round selection from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for blueliner Nate Schmidt, but did give up their second round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in their blockbuster trade on draft day.

Of course, at the time of this article being published, everything is purely speculation for the Canucks’ organization at this point. And as we’ve seen so many times before, these trade rumours might have already been put to bed before it caught enough wind in its sails.

No matter when ends up happening with Miller, whether he stays or goes, there’s no doubt that something needs to take place within this franchise to turn this dismal season around.

Will the front office finally part ways with General Manager Jim Benning?

Could head coach Travis Green be without a job?

Is it time to bring in a President of Hockey Operations?

We likely won’t have these answers any time soon, but fans and media alike are chomping at the bit for some sort of clarity from their team before the season implodes.

The Canucks will hit the 20-game mark on Wednesday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, looking to dramatically improve upon their underwhelming 6-11-2 record.

Puck drop is set for 4:00pm PST.

dark. Next. Canucks have gone nowhere because of their lack of planning

What are your thoughts on this trade rumour? What would you like to see in return if this trade becomes reality? Make sure to drop a comment below!