Feel free to read between the lines. Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin’s response to two questions on Friday regarding JT Miller clearly seemed to lean towards Vancouver Hockey Now’s theory presented in an article last week.
Why rush a new contract for Miller while the high scoring centre still has a year remaining on his current one.
Similar to the franchise philosophy of waiting to see if head coach Bruce Boudreau can deliver for a full season before offering him up an extension, why commit early to a 29-year-old forward who will potentially be very expensive. Miller is presently set to play for a very affordable $5.25-million next season.
Allvin came straight out and said that there was no rush.
“There is no timeline here, JT has another year of his deal and we’ll see where it goes,” Allvin said.
Miller turns 30 during the season in March. If he performs in a manner and at a rate similar to his 99-point season in 2021-’22, then by all means, but as VHN pointed out, even though veteran players tend to perform very well in contract years, there are no guarantees. Not signing a deal prematurely also leaves all forms of trade options on the table.
“A lot of teams are checking in on players and rightfully so, they’re good players,” Allvin stated. There is no pressure whatsoever to sign or trade Miller before or during the NHL Draft that begins on Thursday. Again, a Miller trade will only occur if the Canucks receive an offer they can’t refuse.
There are dangers to waiting too long, should the Vancouver Canucks end up wanting to keep Miller, as the allure of potential unrestricted free agency beckons in the summer of 2023. Leverage starts to lean towards the player, particularly if he’s not dealt by the trade deadline. Allvin seems prepared to take that chance.
“There’s a lot of players playing in the last years of their contracts,” Allvin said. “That’s why you have contracts, you sign them and then you’re committed to play in the National Hockey League.”