The Vancouver Canucks have heard from their $56 million man.
On Tuesday morning, forward J.T. Miller took to Zoom to address the Vancouver media, a few days after the team announced his new seven-year deal, which is set to kick in for the 2023-24 season.
Miller first spoke about how important it was to him to finalize the new contract before training camp, stating that it would “free him up to play an even more consistent-level of hockey” for the upcoming campaign.
Miller then went on to talk about his high expectations for the team, specifically touching on the return of head coach Bruce Boudreau for one more season, as well as the additions of Ilya Mikheyev and Curtis Lazar to the forward group.
Of course, it’s a lot easier said than done to talk about a group’s potential, especially given the club’s disappointing start to the 2021-22 campaign.
The team went 8-15-2 in their first 25 games under former bench boss Travis Green, good for 27th in the league at the time.
However, Miller appeared to be very confident about his team and their ability to win and compete moving forward, one of the main reasons that the 29-year-old forward ultimately put pen to paper with Vancouver for the next seven seasons.
Miller was then asked how he felt about the team’s current blueline, a situation that many fans and media personnel still strongly believe needs a tune-up prior to puck drop on October 12th.
Miller, on the other hand, was quick to dismiss the external concerns. The former Tampa Bay Lightning forward took the time to shift the defensive onus onto the whole team, stating that the defensive pairings were often put under heavy pressure when the team play was inconsistent, and that the the club needed to focus more on a “five-man defence” approach.
Miller also went on to talk about his own on-ice performance, admitting that he felt that his 200-foot game needed to improve in order to help his team reach that coveted next level amongst their Western Conference competitors.
Regardless of his personal perceptions, Miller made sure to touch on his team’s overall chemistry, particularly during their impressive postseason push which saw them go 32-16-10 between December and April, and how that chemistry has grown since then.
Miller finished last year’s campaign just one point shy of the 100-point mark, establishing numerous personal bests along the way, including goals (32), assists (67), powerplay points (38) and points (99).
Miller is set to return to Canada this upcoming weekend while his family, including newborn son, Owen, will make the trek to Vancouver following the team’s five-game road trip to kick off the new season.
What were your thoughts from Miller’s media availability? Let us know in the comments!