We don’t know how close the Vancouver Canucks got to trading J.T. Miller last season, but we now know some of the names that were being offered in return.
Miller’s name was in trade rumours for much of last season, and he’s a player that could still get moved this summer. The 29-year-old is coming off a career-best 99-point season but has just one year remaining on a team-friendly $5.25 million contract.
The Canucks can sign him to a contract extension beginning in July, but that’s expected to be costly, both in terms of dollars and term.
“If the numbers get out of whack, then we have to make a non-emotional decision and make a tough decision that won’t be popular with anybody. And try to get assets that are going to help this franchise long term,” Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford told Sportsnet 650 earlier this month.
Reports last season indicated that the Canucks talked to other teams about potentially trading Miller, but weren’t keen to move him before the trade deadline because they weren’t enamoured with the offers they received.
The team most often mentioned in the Miller rumour mill was the New York Rangers, the same team that drafted Miller in the first round back in 2011.
So what were they offering? In a recent edition of Canucks Central on Sportsnet 650, Satiar Shah revealed some of the details.
“From what we can gather, it was essentially Nils Lundkvist, a first-round pick, and Filip Chytil,” said Shah. “Now, there’s some talk about [Vitali] Kravtsov… but it was very evident, whether these pieces were altogether or not, that the Rangers were not offering Braden Schneider… We don’t know how far it got.”
"It was essentially Nils Lundkvist, a first round pick, and Filip Chytil."@SatiarShah and @danriccio_ discussed the potential offer the Rangers had on the table for JT Miller in hour 1 of #Canucks Central!
— Sportsnet 650 (@Sportsnet650) May 20, 2022
The Rangers have picked in the first round of the draft nine times in the past five years, so they’re loaded with good young players to offer in a deal like this. The Canucks, conversely, haven’t picked in the first round in each of the last two years, and are in need of a boost to their prospect pool.
Chytil, 22, scored 22 points (8-14-22) in 67 games for the Rangers this season. The 6-foot-3 centre has played 253 NHL games since the Rangers picked him 21st overall at the 2017 draft.
Lundkvist, 21, was drafted 28th overall by the Rangers in 2018. The right-shot defenceman split this season between the NHL and AHL, scoring four points (1-3-4) in 25 games with the Rangers.
The Canucks could surely use a right-shot blueliner, but Schneider, who Shah mentioned, is clearly the more desirable option. At just 20 years old, Schneider has played in all 10 Rangers playoff games this season, albeit in a depth role. The 6-foot-2 defenceman was picked 19th overall by New York in the 2020 draft and scored 11 points (2-9-11) in 43 games during the regular season.
Kravtsov was a ninth overall draft pick in 2018 but is playing in the KHL this season, following a 20-game stint with the Rangers last year, where he scored four points (2-2-4). The 22-year-old right-winger is listed at 6-foot-2, and had a combined 23 points in 34 games (regular season and playoffs) with Chelyabinsk Traktor in Russia this season.