So far, Miller has scored 22 goals and managed 41 assists for 63 points in 55 games. He is 12th in the NHL for points.
Miller is a versatile player who can play all three forward positions and is a great offensive player with size and strength. He is also a valuable leader in the locker room. Of course, Miller has been the subject of trade rumours over the last couple of months. He has been linked to teams such New York Rangers, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Miller said that he is tired of the trade rumours.
“It’s just annoying,” said Miller on Canucks Central with Satiar Shah and Dan Riccio on Sportsnet 650 last Wednesday. ”It seems like one or two guys Tweet out something and the whole world buys into it.”
While Miller has had an excellent season, it is hard not to see why the Canucks might want to trade him. His value is higher than Vancouver’s gas prices right now and since the Canucks still have a ways to go to reach contender status, they could get a big haul that includes under-25 NHL players, prospects and draft picks. Miller also needs a new contract at the end of next season and is going to want a big raise. He will be 30 in 2023 and it will be risky to give a long-term contract to him given we know that many players over 30 tend to decline.
According to Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli, it is unlikely that Miller will be moved before or at the trade deadline.
Miller has been falling on Seravalli’s trade targets list and he has recently fallen from 21st to 31st. The other Canucks on the list are Brock Boeser who ranks seventh and Tyler Motte who ranks 16th.
"“It’s difficult to say with any confidence what Miller’s status is in terms of the Canucks’ big-picture plan under Jim Rutherford,” wrote Seravalli. “Perhaps the best way to describe it, in real-time, is to share that the teams that have been most interested in Miller (the New York Rangers among them) have begun to explore other options on their lists because they are getting mixed messages as to whether Miller is actually going to be on the move. That makes sense. Rutherford stressed patience on the trade front to our Scott Burnside. On a team with cap concerns, a more complete Miller at $5.25 million is way more valuable than Boeser at $7.5 million next season, which is why Boeser may go now and leave a decision on Miller to wait until this summer or next year’s deadline.”"
So it looks like the Canucks are playing hardball on the teams that are asking about Miller.
Let’s just say for the sake of this article, the Canucks want to keep Miller instead of trading him and they want to re-sign him when his contract expires in 2023. I’m not saying I want that to happen but let’s explore this hypothetical scenario.
If the Canucks do keep Miller, what could his next contract look like?
There are a lot of reasons why you would like to keep Miller. As said above, he is a leader and can put up offensive numbers in bunches.
Sportsnet’s John Shannon has hinted that Bruce Boudreau sees Miller as the engine of the team on Monday’s edition of the Sekeres and Price show.
Former Canuck Kevin Bieksa believes the Canucks shouldn’t trade Miller.
“These guys don’t grow on trees,” said Bieksa on Miller on Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada panel.
There is a lot to like about Miller and if the Canucks weren’t in the situation they are in now, they wouldn’t even think about trading him.
Miller currently has a contract that has an AAV of 5.25 million which he signed in the summer of 2018 with the Tampa Bay Lightning. What could his next contract look like?
Shayna Goldman and Dom Luszczyszyn of The Athletic (paywalled.) have Miller’s market value at 8.3 million dollars. I do think that is a bit much for Miller. If you’re asking me to predict Miller’s contract, I think it would be at around the seven million dollar mark especially if his strong play continues into next season. As for the term, I would assume Miller would get at least five years.
So the Canucks would have locked up Miller long-term. If that were to happen, some players will have to be moved out. Boeser seems the likely one out at this point but you could also throw in guys such as Bo Horvat and Conor Garland as players moved to re-sign Miller.
Trading Miller is a risk but re-signing him would be a bigger one. Yes, aging curves are different for players and some still thrive in their early to mid-30s (The Sedins for example) but it would be risky for the Canucks to have a large contract for a player in their 30s. Miller could continue to be the player he is now for a few more years or we could see a rapid decline. The latter would not be good.
Let me know in the comments what you think Miller would receive on his next contract if the Canucks were to keep him.