Imagine this: J.T. Miller gets traded from the Canucks to the Maple Leafs and helps bring Toronto its first Stanley Cup since 1967.
It seems that fans in Vancouver and Toronto are imagining just that, which is drawing very different reactions, as you might imagine.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman set Twitter ablaze Tuesday night when he speculated that Canucks forward Miller could be a good fit for the Leafs.
“If (Kyle) Dubas is going to be able to use his LTI space I think that’s going to make things really interesting for him. I’m on the J.T. Miller train… for Toronto,” Friedman said during the first intermission of yesterday’s Leafs game on Sportsnet.
With new management in Vancouver looking to retool the team, Miller appears to be the Canucks’ best trade chip. Miller leads the Canucks in scoring with 53 points in 50 games and is under contract at a team-friendly $5.25 million cap hit for this season and next.
The 29-year-old is a legitimate first-line forward that can play left wing or centre. He has excelled in multiple roles on the power play during his three seasons in Vancouver and is also relied upon to kill penalties. He can play big minutes and is good at taking faceoffs too.
The 6-foot-1, 218-pound forward has to be an appealing player for the Leafs, not only because of his talent but because of the rugged style of game he plays. Miller could help load up a line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, or he could give Toronto an enviable 1-2-3 punch up the middle with Matthews and John Tavares.
Friedman clarified on the Jeff Marek Show this morning that him linking Miller to Toronto was merely his opinion, though CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal is reporting that the Leafs called the Canucks on Tuesday to check the price.
“I don’t know that the Maple Leafs are going to be able to do this, but I think it’s definitely a possibility,” Friedman told Marek on Sportsnet radio this morning. “I think Miller would be perfect for them.”
Jake Muzzin, who counts $5.625 million on the salary cap, is out with a concussion. If he’s out long-term, the Leafs will be able to add Miller’s salary without a problem.
While Miller doesn’t replace Muzzin in the lineup because they play different positions, Friedman and Dhaliwal have also both reported that the Leafs are interested in another Canucks player: defenceman Luke Schenn.
Schenn, who was a Leafs first-round pick in 2008, won’t replace Muzzin either, but the right-shot blueliner is an ideal No. 6 or 7 defenceman on a contender.
Perhaps Miller and Schenn could be packaged together. The Canucks need prospects and draft picks. The Leafs still have their first- and second-round picks to offer in this June’s draft, as well as a number of young players in the system that could interest the Canucks.
Here’s a look at the very different reactions in Toronto and Vancouver, beginning with Leafs fans. The Canucks fan reaction was more entertaining though.
leafs acquire jt miller and im calling john tory to plan the parade myself
— araujo (@arxujoo) February 23, 2022
Alex Kerfoot is from Vancouver 🧐 https://t.co/RgvIQHnTA5
— bobbi 🙂 (@mo_gardiner) February 23, 2022
i’d cry if the leafs get miller
— jen♡ (@tavmarnythews) February 23, 2022
I would be fine trading for JT Miller if the cost doesn't include Knies or Niemela
— TOM WILSON… TORONTO WILL TREAT YOU RIGHT (@LeafsSeason) February 23, 2022
If the Leafs get JT miller i will jump in the snow
— Kyle (@TorSports_Kyle) February 23, 2022
Freidge said Leafs could take a swing for JT Miller.
— Get out of the way of the Russian Bear 🐻 (@Leafguy38) February 23, 2022
Meanwhile in Vancouver…
Jake Muzzin has a 5.6 mill cap hit while JT Miller has a 5.2 mill cap hit. If Leafs put Muzzin on LTIR until playoffs, Miller fits perfectly. 👀👀
— Taj (@taj1944) February 23, 2022
I polled 1000 random Canucks fans if they’d be ok trading JT Miller to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Here is what the survey said… pic.twitter.com/bC7RdNfkkK
— Chris Conte (@ChrisConte79) February 23, 2022
#LeafsForever want JT Miller?🤔
I want Rasmus Sandin, Topi Niemelä a 1st and Kerfoot
Throw the Leafs back a 5th
— Joshua Griffith (@JoshuaGriffith0) February 23, 2022
If JT Miller gets traded to the Leafs I will hate his guts.
— B.Reynolds (@unsknnybop5) February 23, 2022
Why would the canucks trade miller to the leafs…what they could offer is trash.
— Horvat_to_Boeser (@TsawwassenCanuk) February 23, 2022
Shouldn't the Leafs be more worried about getting a goalie than consistently stop the puck rather than chasing after JT Miller? Or am I missing something here?
— Mike in the Valley (@mikeinthevalley) February 23, 2022
Things you don't do.
1. Swim after eating
2. Date your friends ex
3. Fight Tyson in his prime
4. Wrestle a Grizzly Bear
And ABOVE ALL…YOU DON'T TRADE MILLER TO LEAFS!!!
Rather trade him for future considerations than LEAFS for multiple picks.
Shame on you @FriedgeHNIC
— Nav Dosanjh (@NavDosanjh1983) February 23, 2022
I'd rather let JT Miller walk for nothing than trade him to the Leafs
— Nick Bondi (@nickbondi) February 23, 2022