What’s next for JT Miller and the Canucks?

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) /

As free agency dwindles down with most of the big name targets off the market and salary cap space drying up around the league, the likelihood of the Vancouver Canucks trading J.T.Miller doesn’t seem as high as it was just a couple of weeks ago.

However, it is crucial that the Canucks address the issue before the start of training camp. With the two parties being incredibly distant on a possible extension, bringing Miller to camp this fall could be untenable. Canucks President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford pushed back against the impatient market, stating that the team has until the 2023 trade deadline to decide on Miller, whether that be having a contract extension done or taking the best possible offer for him at the trade deadline.

With that being said, this is incredible posturing by Rutherford, who is almost certainly mustering up some leverage for the team, repeatedly stating that the team is not feeling any pressure to move the star forward anytime soon.


No matter how much Rutherford postures the market on a possible Miller trade or extension, one thing is sure: the team cannot back themselves into a corner heading into the regular season with Miller on the roster without an extension. Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman has reported, “It’s going to be too hard to get an extension done.”

With a trade being the most likely result in the coming weeks to months, which teams could find themselves in the running for the aforementioned Miller?

The most popular team was the New York Rangers, but the signing of Vincent Trochek made a Miller trade to the blue-shirts much more unlikely than before the start of free agency. I wouldn’t rule them out entirely, but with long-term money tied to Trochek and extensions due to Kappo Kakko, Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere, and K’Andre Miller in the coming years having the flexibility to hand out a massive extension to JT Miller may not be there anymore.

If the Rangers were to take a run at Miller, it would likely be a rental, limiting the assets they would be inclined to send out. This would likely rule out the Rangers as a significant contender for the services of Miller.

Next would be the New York Islanders, who had the Canucks fan base collectively holding their breaths on draft day, as Friedman reported that the two teams were up to something before the first overall selection. The rumors amounted to nothing as the Islanders went in a different direction, moving their first-round pick to the Montreal Canadiens for Alexander Romanov. However, with the Islanders missing out on Johnny Gaudreau and not making any moves in free agency thus far,  they are still a prime landing spot for Miller, maybe even the favourites to land him. Don’t be surprised to see Lou Lamoriello and Patrick Allvin circle back to each other as the dust settles in the coming weeks.

What would the structure of the trade look like? Going off the most recent comparisons of Kevin Fiala to LA and Sam Reinhart to Florida, it will likely be an unprotected first-round draft selection in addition to a team’s top 5 prospect, plus an additional asset given that Miller would likely come with an extension.

The Canucks will push for a package of a first-round pick, prospect Auty Raty, and a roster player in the realm of Kieffer Bellows or Oliver Wahlstrom. This would net the Canucks with three assets in return for their star forward. Neither Wahlstrom nor Bellows have been able to find their footing in the NHL but still, carry some potential to become contributors to a team’s top nine.

The New Jersey Devils, the other team in the Gaudreau  sweepstakes is another possible landing spot for the services of Miller. The Devils looking to take the next step in their rebuild could be primed to make a push for Miller. The Devils are rich with prospects and could afford to give Miller the extension he is looking for, resulting in a natural match for a trade. The Canucks may push for one of the many defence prospects that the Devils have in their pool. If Vancouver could land one of Shakir Mukhamadullin or Kevin Bahl, it would immediately fortify the team’s biggest organizational weakness: defencemen in the pipeline.

In addition to the prospect, the Devils would send out a top-five protected first-round pick and another asset such as Jesper Boqvist. This trade is a win-win scenario for both the Devils and Canucks, as the Devils don’t dip into any of their blue-chip prospects, and the Canucks still get three worthwhile assets.

With the departure of Trochek, the Carolina Hurricanes have a glaring hole at the second-line center position. As a win-now team, the Hurricanes have got to do better than Jesperi Kotkaniemi in the two-hole. Enter JT Miller. The Hurricanes have been at odds with RFA Martin Necas, who is more of a winger than a center and hasn’t played up to standards in his playoff career, with just three goals in 33 playoff games.

Should the Hurricanes dangle the talented Czech winger in a possible Miller trade, the Canucks should be all over it. They won’t do better than getting a capable 23-year-old top-six winger fir Milller. Necas was up and down the lineup last season and seemed to have fallen out of favor with the Hurricanes coaching staff, who rightfully are running out of patience in their pursuit of the Stanley Cup. Miller would immediately make the Hurricanes the cup favorites joining a star-studded top six.

Next. Expectations for Andrei Kuzmenko with the Canucks. dark

What do you think Canucks fans? What do you think the future holds for Miller? Let me know in the comments below!