In a one-on-one with Vancouver Hockey Now after the morning skate at UBS Arena on Wednesday, Vancouver Canucks forward JT Miller said “Honestly, until they (his agent or the Canucks) come to me and start talking I have no reason to believe I’m getting traded.”
The concept seems illogical on a lot of levels, barring a ‘king’s ransom’ offered by an interested team, to the point of being asinine when it first popped up about five weeks ago. At that point the Canucks hardly had a new general manager in place, the club was on an upswing, and the NHL trade deadline remained two months away.
Even with that deadline approaching in less than three weeks, Miller is the team’s leading scorer, plays centre and wing, brings a heart and soul type mental approach and work ethic, and maybe most importantly, has a year remaining on what would be considered a discount contract, with a $5.25-million dollar cap hit.
“I feel like there’s a couple guys out there who send out a tweet every couple of weeks and it catches on like wildfire,” Miller said. “I don’t have twitter, I don’t follow my own instagram. I could care less, it means nothing to me.”
He usually hears the gossip from friends.
“You hear about it, it gets a little ridiculous at some point. I’m sure there’s a lot of guys in the locker room who are sick of people telling them they’re being traded because they (those talking) have a feeling they are.”
He reiterated it hasn’t been a distraction, but he sees where it could be for him and others.
“I could see where our brains could be lost in all this speculation and all this BS, but I really don’t indulge in it to be honest with you,” Miller added. “I think if I really start to think about that stuff now it could affect my play. We need to win the game today and we need to beat Toronto and then we go back to our home.”
And now the caveat: Miller’s been traded before at a trade deadline when he was led to believe he wouldn’t be, but in a situation that was much different.
“I’ve been told I wasn’t being traded, before, with the Rangers, and was traded last second at the deadline,” Miller stated. “Anything can happen, but that’s out of my control, I’m just trying to play my game and help this team win and get in the playoffs, and that’s the only thing I’m thinking about.”
In a blockbuster deal on February 26, 2018, Miller was moved from New York to the Tampa Bay Lightning with defenceman Ryan McDonagh for multiple players and two high draft picks. At the time Miller was a pending restricted free agent. After signing his current five-year deal that summer, Miller posted a 47-point season for Tampa Bay.
In June of 2019 the Lightning moved Miller to Vancouver for depth goalie Marek Mazanec and two draft picks who you probably haven’t heard much from just yet. He wasn’t part of Tampa Bay’s plans at that point in time and at that price. He was however part of Vancouver’s plans and he blossomed upon arrival posting a 27-goal and 72 point season for the Canucks as their leading scorer in 2019-’20. He leads the way now with 20 goals and 40 assists.
“They’ve treated my and my family great here since I’ve been here,” Miller said of the Vancouver Canucks. “We love it here. It’s been such a crap shoot with the pandemic and all that and the coaching and the GM changes. I think it’s feels like a slow moving couple of years here with everything that goes on. I think this is a good hockey team and we have a lot of good bones here. We’re just gonna get better.”