All is quiet as it relates to contract talks between the Vancouver Canucks and leading scorer JT Miller. That according to Miller’s agent Brian Bartlett who told Vancouver Hockey Now on Thursday night “we’re not presently in talks and we haven’t had a conversation since the NHL Draft.”
The draft concluded 14 days ago.
That’s not to suggest the talks weren’t amicable, Bartlett added, but he said the two sides were not particularly close to reaching a deal, nor did he get the impression that a trade was imminent. In other words, any speculation outside of those very limited conversations is just smoke, not fire.
“JT likes playing in Vancouver and is open to re-signing,” Bartlett said, while also being cognizant of the economics involved with the Vancouver Canucks cap situation.
Based on that limited cap space and the lack of flexibility with other player assets, VHN conducted an informal poll with other high-ranking NHL managerial sources on Thursday who came to the conclusion Miller will more likely be traded at some point than signed. They also felt ‘the sooner the better’ from both the player’s and club’s standpoint.
Again, not to suggest anything is imminent, these were their thoughts. There’s approximately two months to training camp.
The overall Miller trade speculation has continued since before the last trade deadline. That’s when the asinine notion arose that the team could or should trade Miller prior to this past March 21st. It made no sense for many reasons we’ve spelled out in the past, not to mention the fact that the new Vancouver Canucks management team had been in place for approximtely three months, with limited evaluation time and very little intimate knowledge of the player.
Hell of time to trade your leading scorer, who you don’t really know, with a year remaining on his discounted contract while in the middle of an inspired playoff chase.
Just the nature of the beast.
In fact, it would be fair to say that Vancouver Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin and President of Hockey Operations Jim Rutherford still have much to learn about the personality of their 29-year-old, first-line centre.
What they can look up is his productivity. As his ice time and opportunities have increased over the course of his career, so have his numbers. His points per minutes performance over time, his physical nature, and his competitiveness are there for all to see.
There’s always much more to it than just numbers.
Miller is a unique talent, but also a unique personality, who expresses his frustration in different ways compared to most, in that he can be domineering and even “pissy”. Those reactions have improved over time as he’s gone through a noticeable maturation process, yet that fire still breathes.
Bartlett suggests there is one motivating factor behind any of Miller’s efforts and behaviours; he wants to win. It’s the same thing that will motivate him in making a decision should an offer be presented.
There isn’t one.
Miller is enjoying his summer, is said to be in no rush, and is cool coming to training camp.