By Frank Seravalli
MONTRÉAL — Back in April, Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said “we’ll know by the Draft” as to whether they’d be able to keep J.T. Miller in Vancouver for the long-term.
As we close in on Round 1 on Thursday night, it appears the Canucks have their answer. According to sources, the Canucks met with Miller’s camp on Tuesday in Montreal and the two sides remain far apart on parameters for a potential contract extension.
Miller, 29, is eligible to sign an extension on July 13. He has one year remaining on his current deal at a bargain $5.25 million. Coming off a career-best, 99-point season, the writing has been on the wall for a while between Miller and the Canucks. He will turn 31 at the end of the first season of his new deal and Vancouver doesn’t appear willing to offer Miller the term that he’d almost surely fetch on the open market one year from now.
With that, expect trade talks to intensify for Miller, who climbed to No. 2 on our latest Trade Targets board. Of course, there is no guarantee of a trade, since Miller is under contract for next season. But given the interest in Miller, the Canucks’ desire for more immediate salary cap flexibility, as well as the ability to bring more teams into play rather than at next season’s trade deadline – and it all adds up to a player who could well be on the move in short order.