The curious case of the 13th overall pick and the trade that wasn’t between the Vancouver Canucks and the New York Islanders.
There’s lots of information here, so let’s flesh this out.
Sportsnet comes on air and Elliotte Friedman reports that there’s something up between the Canucks and Islanders with New York’s No. 13 pick.
Instantly, the speculation is that the deal involves J.T. Miller.
Minutes later, commissioner Gary Bettman announces two trades — the Montreal Canadiens acquire the 13th overall pick for Alexander Romanov, and the Habs flip that pick to Chicago for centre Kirby Dach.
Montreal general manager Kent Hughes would later say that he worked all day on those deals and that they were in place before the draft.
While I’m not a reporter, I can share that after hearing enough specifics from multiple sources who reached out (and I trust), the Islanders and Van were close on a JT Miller deal. It blew up late. Canucks deny, and I understand why they need to deny, but it happened.
— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) July 8, 2022
In New York, one reporter and one podcaster say there was a Miller deal with the Canucks.
“While I’m not a reporter, I can share that after hearing enough specifics from multiple sources who reached out (and I trust), the Islanders and Van were close on a JT Miller deal,” Chris Botta, the former head of communications for the Islanders, said. “It blew up late. Canucks deny, and I understand why they need to deny, but it happened.”
And Stefen Rosner of NYI Hockey Now: “Just heard that Isles deal for Canucks J.T. Miller fell through last second and Lamoriello decided to go another route with Alexander Romanov.”
— Stefen Rosner (@stefen_rosner) July 8, 2022
So what happened here?
Canucks GM Patrik Allvin answered “no comment” when asked what was up with the Islanders by Friedman on the draft floor. He would later say there is “definitely” not anything going on with the Islanders.
Lamoriello is ruthless. Could he have nixed the trade after it leaked? Absolutely. He told the Canucks the night before the Horvat/Schneider trade, that if it leaked, the deal was off. Both Gillis and Gilman told that story on our show years ago.
Lou hates leaks and doesn’t discuss hockey matters publicly.
That said, it is a hell of a pivot from Miller to Romanov, and in such a short timespan too.
Could it be that he had a deal in principle with the Canucks, got permission to speak with Miller’s agent and got such sticker shock that he demurred? Is it possible there was a deal for another Canuck player, say defenceman Tyler Myers, who would be more akin to what they wound up getting in Romanov?
He was asked about the Canucks and a potential deal and responded with: “Ask Vancouver.”
Is it possible he was initiating Allvin, a rookie, into the club? Or has an axe to grind against the former Penguins executives now in Vancouver?
My gut says this was just a bad scoop, or something got lost in communication with regards to how close the Canucks and Islanders were.
We don’t have the real story here and we may never get the real story. It may become part of Canucks lore, especially if things go sideways with Miller from here.