Saw someone commenting on John Shannon’s hit Monday saying he’s been all over the place with his J.T. Miller analysis.
And that’s because the Vancouver Canucks have been all over the place with their J.T. Miller intentions.
This new management group wanted to trade him, then kept him in a desperate attempt to make the playoffs. Then they wanted to move him, only to find out the market for his services wasn’t robust.
Now they’re talking about keeping him, even extending him, and with good reason: the market is flush with top-six forwards.
Nazem Kadri is still out there in free agency, then there’s the trade market where Matthew Tkachuk, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Patrick Kane, maybe even Coquitlam’s Mathew Barzal, are available.
Frankly, at this stage, the Canucks should keep Miller. If you can’t reap value in a buyer’s market, then keep him into the season with two conditions:
- Do not re-sign him. Let him play out the final year of his $5.25M contract. He won’t like it. He might be grumpy, but he will also be motivated. The Canucks have time, so they ought to use it. See if Miller can replicate his 99-point season or if that was a career-year outlier.
- Commit to trading him at the deadline (or sooner) no matter where the team is in the playoff race. The Canucks are not a Cup team next year. Recognize that, and understand that you gave your player group its opportunity to make the playoffs last year. You can’t keep hope-betting an unequipped roster.
Unquestionably, all this carries some risk. If Miller were to get hurt or underperform, the Canucks would be in a bad spot and this management team would be hooped.
The preference must still be on moving him, but the climate has made that so much more difficult.