Miller remains in Canucks plans, says Boudreau


Bruce Boudreau continues his preparations as if JT Miller would still be part of the Vancouver Canucks at the time of the regular season opener.

« He’s a Canuck, other things are out of my control, » the Canucks coach said on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio Thursday. So he is part [de mes plans] and I don’t care. If something happens, I will adapt to the situation, but in my eyes, JT is our number one center player. He’s a great hockey player and I’m happy he’s with the Canucks. »

Miller will be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season. He is about to play the final season of a five-year contract worth $26.25 million. The 29-year-old center set NHL career highs last season in goals (32), assists (67) and points (99).

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There were rumors of trades involving Miller before the NHL’s March 21 trade deadline, but the Canucks decided to retain Miller because they were just four points out of a spot. in the Stanley Cup playoffs at that time. Vancouver ultimately finished five points behind the Nashville Predators, who held second place as the fourth playoff aces in the Western Conference. When Boudreau was hired as a coach to replace Travis Green on Dec. 6, 2021, the Canucks were tied with the Seattle Kraken for last in the Pacific Division.

Canucks president Jim Rutherford recently indicated that after discussions with Miller’s representatives during the days surrounding the NHL draft, the two parties remain very far from an agreement. If they can’t come to terms with the 2023 NHL trade deadline, Rutherford suggested the Canucks wouldn’t be keen on letting Miller get full free agency.

If Miller stays with the Canucks to start the season, their center depth will be among the best in the NHL with Elias Petterssonwho set personal bests with 32 goals and 68 points last season, and Bo Horvatwho set a personal career high with 31 goals last season.

« NHL Network just created a top 20 center list, and we had two in there (Miller, 12th; Pettersson, 19th), Boudreau said. But I would estimate that if they compiled a top-30 or top-25 list, we would have had the only team with three centers on the list. Bo Horvat must be among that group. He’s a 30-goal scorer and would have scored 35 if he hadn’t suffered a broken leg that saw him miss the final two weeks of the season. I am very excited at the idea of ​​counting on such depth in the center. JT is the leader of our group, and I’m pretty sure he will be again this season. »

Boudreau added that it’s not just his offensive production that makes Miller such an effective player, but also his two-way play.

« He comes to the rink to play and winning matters to him, » Boudreau said. I remember when I arrived in Vancouver, he told me that winning is all he cares about, and that kind of player is rare. He played an important role for us in all situations. He has done a lot for us. »

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