Despite knowing that he would have received more on the open market as an unrestricted free agent, Vancouver Canucks top scorer J.T. Miller decided to take less in hopes of bringing a Stanley Cup to Vancouver, and he and his agent Brian Bartlett used the most recent Stanley Cup champions as an example.
Prior to last season, Bartlett was negotiating for his client Cale Makar with Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic at the same time representatives for team captain Gabriel Landeskog were trying to get a new deal done. Like Miller, Landeskog also came to a deal for $56-million, but over eight years, at $7-million per.
“The model that helped push this through was Landeskog,” Bartlett explained to VHN on Friday afternoon. “At $56-million dollars, they could use those other pieces. I recall that because we were doing Makar while they were doing Landeskog and you try to put the puzzle pieces together, and I think J.T. bought into the idea that if you leave a little bit, have something left, hopefully someone else will get it, maybe his buddy Bo (Horvat) or someone else. Keep it together for an up-and-coming team and have everyone feel good about it. That’s what pushed it over here.”
Bartlett emphasized that it was Miller who pushed for the ‘hometown discount’. Bartlett knew more could be gained financially.
“He wants to be there, he wants to play there, he wants to win a Cup in Vancouver,” Bartlett added. “He wants to be part of the solution, he’s come to love the city, loves his teammates. I feel confident that he would have made more on the open market depending on how the market played out this year, but this was something, a real clear directive, let’s get it done here in Vancouver.”
The new deal doesn’t affect the club’s immediate salary cap situation. Miller will play one more season under his current deal that pays him $5.25-million for the 2022-’23 season.
Canucks GM Patrik Allvin locks up his top-line centre and avoids a potential major distraction come training camp, making Thursday’s VHN story look rather prophetic. Attention will now turn to team captain Horvat, who has one season remaining at $5.5-million.