First Look: Canucks Give Up Too Much For J.T. Miller

The Canucks finally made their big splash, dealing Marek Manzanec, a 2019 third-round pick, and a first round pick in either 202 or 2021 to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward J.T. Miller on Saturday morning.

In a vacuum, Miller is a great addition to the Canucks’ forward group. Since being traded to the Lightning at the 2018 trade deadline, he’s been one of their best forwards by shot-share, playing mostly on the wing with either Steven Stamkos or Anthony Cirelli. His resume in New York was much more mixed, but the Rangers played a style that generally lent itself to poor underlying shot metrics, and Miller remained a fairly consistent producer of offense at even-strength and on the power play in New York.

Upon moving to a deeper team in Tampa Bay, Miller’s role was reduced and his even-strength offense diminished. He was the Lightning’s 11th-best forward in raw even-strength offense and even-strength P/60. Miller racked up a lot of secondary assists this year playing for one of the league’s best offensive teams and getting regular reps in on the man advantage. The decline in even-strength offense is a bit of a red flag, but Miller is only 26 and had a good track record of driving offense in New York, so it’s not a huge concern. The dip in his numbers can likely be traced back to going from a primary piece on a weaker team to a secondary piece on a team that’s been a legitimate cup contender for a few years now.

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Stylistically, Miller seems like he’ll be a strong fit for the Canucks, who have a ton of shoot-first players on the wing. Miller is more of a distributor, which makes him a strong fit to play alongside Bo Horvat, who’s been in dire need of a winger to get him the puck for most if not all of his NHL career; and looks like a pretty obvious upgrade over every option the Canucks have on the wing other than Brock Boeser. There’s been a revolving door of wingers making appearances in the top six over the past few seasons who range anywhere from decent middle-six scorers to complete wildcards and Miller ought to at least provide some stability to Bo Horvat’s line. He can also play the middle, which gives the Canucks the opportunity to try different looks in their bottom-six depending on the opponent their matching up against.

There’s been a lot of time spent on discussing the value of the pieces that were exchanged in this deal and the leverage the Canucks had over the Lightning given their cap crunch. Those criticisms are all valid, but something that hasn’t been explored nearly enough is the risk the Canucks took in dealing their first rounder in 2020 or 2021. The conditions of the deal stipulate that the pick Vancouver dealt to Tampa is lottery protected for the 2020 draft, but not in 2021.

By making this deal, the Canucks bet they could be a playoff team within the next two years. I think most prognosticators expect the Canucks to improve over the next couple of years, but the question of how significant their improvement will be remains up in the air. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the Canucks future and even if they improve on paper, only a couple of things need to go sideways for them to be in the NHL’s basement again.

Here’s a brief list of all the things that could sink the Canucks next season or the season after:

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  1. Jacob Markstrom has a bad season. This scenario seems the most likely given recent history. Markstrom had a .912 save percentage in 2018-19, which was enough to earn him 28 wins. What got lost in the hype of a very strong finish to the season is that he put up the same totals in his previous season, but earned 5 less wins over the same number of starts. That suggests that even if Markstrom puts up similar numbers to last year in 2019-20, the team won’t necessarily see the same results. If Markstrom’s play declines even the slightest bit, you can probably erase the 3 or 4 wins adding J.T. Miller to the lineup could provide the Canucks with next season.
  2. Thatcher Demko isn’t ready to be a full-time backup. Even if the Canucks continue to ride Markstrom for 60 games like they’ve done over the past two seasons, they’ll still need someone to start the remaining 22 and give them a chance to win on most nights. Like most people in Vancouver, I believe in Thatcher Demko and want to see him succeed, but he’s played 10 games at the NHL level and is still basically an unknown commodity.
  3. The Canucks have injury trouble. It’s unlikely that the Canucks won’t lose at least one or two players at some point during the year, given their history. The big deciding factor is obviously who exactly ends up getting struck by the injury bug. Most fans will remember how unwatchable the Canucks were when Elias Pettersson went down with a with injuries this season, and there’s little reason to believe next year would be different if similar circumstances were to arise. Adding Miller will help the team’s ability to weather the storm a bit, but moving him to the middle in the event of an injury would bring them right back to square one when it comes to their lack of offensive wingers. On the back end, they’re still going to be heavily reliant on Alex Edler, who will be another year older and has missed 10 games in each of his last 4 seasons; and Chris Tanev, who’s been in the infirmary as often as he’s been on the ice the past few seasons and has been a shadow of his former self even when he’s been healthy. In net, Markstrom has generally help up well, but he’ll be turning 30 next season and all it takes is one ill-timed injury for the Canucks’ season to fall to shambles. At every position, the Canucks simply don’t have the depth to remain competitive if a key cog goes down next year and there doesn’t appear to be a clear plan to fix that problem by 2021, either.
  4. The teams around them in the standings improve. The Flames, Sharks, and Golden Knights don’t look like they’re going anywhere anytime soon, which means the Canucks best-case scenario is to battle for wildcard spot next year and likely the year after, too. The Arizona Coyotes had a surprisingly strong showing last year and were just 4 points out of the last wildcard spot in the West last season despite the fact that their leading goal-scorer was Brad Richardson. Even the slightest improvement from a player like Clayton Keller could be enough to vault them past the Canucks and into the wildcard race. The Oilers are still the Oilers, but they have two of the best centres in the game and a front office that no longer employs Peter Chiarelli, so it’s hard to see them being any worse than they were last season. At any rate, five teams from the Central Division made the playoffs last season and unless one drops out, the point will be moot anyway. The Canucks could very easily be the fourth-best team in the Pacific next year and the year after and still not make the playoffs.

Obviously, this is all complete speculation. All of these things could happen, or none of them could happen. They could all happen and the team could make the playoffs, or none of them could happen and they could still finish in the basement. No one really knows, and that’s exactly the point. Neither you, nor I, nor Jim Benning has the slightest idea how the next two seasons are going to go. With that in mind, those who have defended the trade cannot say that the Canucks will make the playoffs by 2021 with any more certainty than I can say that they won’t. It’s a gamble, and based on where the Canucks have spent most of the past 5 years, the risk of losing out on a high draft pick is greater than the reward of adding a 45-55 point player to the roster.

One of the biggest arguments that has been mounted in defense of the Canucks acquiring J.T. Miller is that he’s likely to be better than the player that will be selected with the pick the Canucks gave up anyway. Assuming the Canucks actually do manage to make the playoffs at some point over the next two seasons, that’s probably true. The question is at what point does the likelihood that J.T. Miller provides the Canucks with more value than their first-round pick cease to be a good bet? If they give up a pick in the 15-20 range, they can probably live with that decision, but if that pick ends up in the range of the top ten or even higher, the likelihood that the Canucks gave up a player that is not only flat-out better than what they got in J.T. Miller but also younger and more cost-controlled only increases.

It’s impossible to say how this will turn out. The Canucks have some good young talent in the system and a lot of cap space, so assuming they’ll make the postseason by 2021 is far from outlandish, but the only other relevant example of a team in a similar position to the Canucks giving up a first-round pick resulted in that team losing out on Bowen Byram. Could you imagine the uproar in this city if the Canucks had traded the pick used to select Bowen Byram on J.T. Miller? Heads would roll.

The difference is that unlike in Ottawa, if the Canucks don’t make the playoffs, the General Manager will not be around to witness the selection. He’ll be long gone, along with any chance of the team’s ownership seeing a dime of playoff revenue over the course of Bo Horvat’s best years.

  • Rich Dawson

    As I said before, what is Miller worth at the deadline, is he worth a 1st and 3rd to a contender, with 1-3 + years locked at 5.25M, if the season goes for a [email protected], you can trade at one of the next 3 deadlines and we are back where we started….

  • apr

    Why not a few reasons why the Canucks will make the playoffs instead? Why not write something that Miller (or Myers) gives Brock, Bo, Hughes, EP a shot in the arm to help with their development so they can avoid the laughable and pathetic losing culture of the Oilers and Sabres. Why not some analysis that says for every one Boeser drafted in the 20’s there are a dozen Gaunces drafted? Or posing the question, would you rather have kept the 40th and drafted Hoglander, or next year’s mid 20s pick? Jeebus.

    • Reme

      I don’t think Miller last season pushes the Canucks into the playoffs. I think the Canucks make the playoffs based upon the improvement of the stars like EP, Bo, Brock and Quinn. Adding support will help, especially if it is D support, but our being a playoff team is all about the core.

      • canuckfan

        Not only the improvement of the player such as Bo, Petey, Brock, and Quinn imagine if the FA signings helped keep Tanev and Edler in the lineup. If the Canucks were able to limit the injuries we have have a better chance of making the playoffs. We also need an increase of goals for which Miller and Pearson and Sven will help. Of course a decrease of goals against with less injuries to our top defenders and players such as Sutter. Benning is building a team slowly but surely. Canucks will be better and Utica will also be better a lot of what has limited the Canucks has also affected the Comets which is injuries and if the Canucks can limit the injuries one by stopping the defenders from blocking shots and relying on the goalies to stop pucks if the goalies stop the shots without the defenders putting themselves in harms way could all help in the Canucks getting more points in the standing to help get into the playoffs.

      • Dan-gles

        It’s not Miller last year Benning thinks he got. It’s miller who’s been trapped behind talent, capable of a lot more he thinks he got. I like that gamble. What I don’t understand is why he couldn’t work the Colin Miller trade instead?! It didn’t require the first rounder and we would still have drafted Hoglander. Heck we could still have had J.T. Miller and colin. Colin Miller was traded for 2021 2nd and a 2022 fifth round draft pick, why doesn’t Jim Benning ever get these kind of deals? And why didn’t we get this deal?

    • Adamemnon

      Why don’t you start a fan site that focuses solely on finding the silver lining in any situation? Because if you’re looking for that here, you’re in the wrong place. “Projecting positivity” that will help strengthen the Canucks’ karma (presumably) and carry them into the playoffs, is not what Canucks Army does. They do analytics based analysis (go figure) about the probabilities of things like certain junior players making the big leagues and what impact they will make if they do so; of the underlying data on professional players’ performance and if that reveals they are over or under-valued; and of the probabilities of trades like this one working out as net positives or negatives for the teams involved, and thus constructing a metric and narrative by which to evaluate managers.

      As the writers here often take pains to point out, they as fans usually also hope for the best possible outcome for the team, but if you’re in the business of using logic and data to evaluate performance and decision-making, you don’t do anyone any favors by refusing to take off your rose-colored homer goggles. People who criticize the CA writers for being too negative because they desperately want their Canucks to be better are shooting the messenger. CA is not creating the poor performance and decision-making, they’re just pointing out exactly how and why it’s happening.

  • Reme

    I like Miller as a player and think he adds to making the Canucks better. I just don’t like the idea of giving up a first to just make the playoffs. That is more of a move for a team to put them over the edge to be a contender. Even with Miller, Canucks are no where near deep enough to even make it a certainty to be that competitive.

    • LTFan

      Reme – From the management group’s perspective it is probably a good bet that the Canucks will make the playoffs in the 2019-20 season. What everyone forgets is that a draft pick is a prospect, the first 5 OA usually have an NHL career of 500 games or more. At the end of the current season J.T. Miller has played 435 regular season games in the NHL. He is a bona-fide NHL player and 26 years old. The Canucks, I suspect, are of the opinion that the risk is low that R 1 pick they have given up will be better. Of course time will tell.

  • DJ_44

    Aside from the ridulous “things that could go wrong” list which can be applied to any team in league. In fact, I suspect this exact list can is more applicable to applied to the other Canadian team that traded a semi-protected first rounder at this years draft.

    but the only other relevant example of a team in a similar position to the Canucks giving up a first-round pick resulted in that team losing out on Bowen Byram.

    How is Ottawa, at the time they trade their protected first rounder for Duchene, event remotely relevant? Ottawa was not coming out of a rebuild and adding to a solid top six forward to a group of very talented youngsters they have drafted and developed. They were an aging team that was trying to squeeze one more run out of a team that had success before major players were up for UFA (Karlsson, Stone, etc). The Canucks are on the upswing improving point total in each of the last three seasons and if not for terrible injury luck last year, would have been very much in contention as a playoff team.

    I would suggest that adding Miller this year provides a better chance of the Canucks “seeing playoff revenue in Bo Horvat’s prime” than not making the trade.

    Is there a risk? Of course there is a risk as with most things in business and life. But to suggest that teams do not have an idea as to where the seasons will go over the next two years is ridiculous.

    Go back to the oft cited “model” rebuild: Toronto. They have still not won a playoff series, and it is very questionable whether they will improve their team this year, as opposed to treading water or regressing — while teams around them like Florida, Buffalo, Montreal have all improved (or are expected to). Maybe they should burn it to the ground; that would make the rebuild forever crowd happy.

  • Locust

    Lets say the Canucks finish with the #14 pick next year and the #20 pick in 2021. In miller we get a proven, multi faceted player that can score and is abrasive. The abrasiveness is probably why so many cream puffs here dont like him.
    Here is a list of #20 picks from 2006 – 2016:
    David Fischer – never played an nhl game
    Angelo Esposito – ditto
    Michael Del Zotto – hmmmm
    Jacob Josefon
    Beau Bennett
    Connor Murphy
    Scott LAughton
    Anthony Mantha
    Nick Schmaltz
    Joel Erikson Ek
    Dennis Cholowski
    Well, a couple of keepers but at this time, getting a cheap locked up player of Millers ability he is superior to any on that list. People blabbering for “picks” cant seem to get it through their heads that there is a one in four chance of getting a player once you are out of the top five. Miller is already a player.
    Also, anyone who thinks the Canucks will be worse two years from now than they are today is basically an idiot. Whether we overpayed or not can only be determined 2-3 years after TB makes their pick.

    • Reme

      The value of a draft pick is not merely the player picked with it. The value of the pick is also the potential value (much like the future’s market in equities). Its value is relative to each team. And it holds its value until it is spent, either by trade or by picking. Then it becomes a different value. All of picks, players, cap space and contract flexibility have potential value. What has to be asked is not if the player TB or another team picks with that pick is better or worse that Miller, but is the opportunity cost more or less (e.g. could we have gotten better value by keeping it?). We can just look at the Rangers and Devils deals lately and see if they got more out of their assets than we did with Miller. That is what needs to be considered. If you look at the Miller trade, what we actually traded was a 1st in 2020 or 2021, a 3rd in 2019, and the cap space for Miller. What we got was Miller and a contract space to fit him. Was that good value or not?

      You are right about thinking we won’t be better. It is idiotic to think we won’t be but also the same to think we will be. We have seen so many situations happen even recently; teams that went on long runs become lottery teams like Ottawa and Philly, teams that emerged only to fall back like Edmonton, teams that fall back and then re-emerge like Calgary. There are too many scenarios to know what will happen over the next few years. I think it is best to mitigate any risks.
      For me, I am happy to have Miller, but I think the cost might of been too much. I will be happy if the team makes the playoffs and continues to build to be a contender. But, I still think the price was high whether that happens or not.

    • Dirk22

      This is some in depth analysis from you Locust – and not even a whine about the Canucks Army site. Big day for you.

      I’ve yet to read or hear anything or anyone who says they don’t like Miller as a player. In fact, most people think he’s not only a good player but a really good fit for what the Canucks need. It’s the cost of acquisition that’s the problem – cherry picking the 20th pick over the past 10 years to prove that Miller is worth that assumes the Canucks are a year or two from being a top-10 team in the league. If that’s the case great but that’s the bet you’re making? The second worst team in the league over the past 4 years is making this big a jump with as many holes as they do right now – particularly on the backend?

      It also doesn’t factor in Tampa’s cap situation where they had (and still have to) offload salary. Carolina just took advantage of Vegas and picked up Haula for a ‘B’ prospect and conditional 5th rounder. If you watch hockey you’d know that Haula was the Knights second line center when they made their cup run a year ago. Not the exact same player as Miller and a pending UFA but way better value considering the cost.

      If these first round picks outside of the top-5 are so volatile why doesn’t it make sense for the Canucks to trade Podkolzin for a 26 year old top-6 forward who can help them now?

      • Locust

        It doesn’t make sense because of the home run JB made with Petersson and the maybe of Olli. Besides Reme covering all the bases with $2 to win-place-show on every horse in the race, you do need to roll the dice sometimes. Also, everyone had Podkolzin earlier, his only negative was a 2 year KHL contract and the fact he is a Russian. Miller helps us now and into the future.
        As for not complaining about the site – it’s still early….. if it wasn’t for the comments, occasionally even one of yours, this site would truly be garbage. There ya go…

        • Reme

          That is funny, because you are not too far off how I bet at the track. Not $2 on all horses, but i don’t bet longshots or trifecta. I prefer betting to show rather than win. It doesnt lead to many jackpots, but I do walk away up a few $ each time.
          I also think rolling the dice is important, but I like doing so after building a core and entering the window. However, I can see the reasons for doing it now. Anyways, I do enjoy reading your post. Just surprised you pinned me so easily.

    • TheRealPB

      On the TB blogs one of the comments about Miller is that while he is big and can play an abrasive style, he doesn’t really like to — in fact he complained that this led to diminished point totals. Also I think you’re still missing the point — it’s not whether Miller is worth a 1st and 3rd (probably is) but why it is that Benning had to give up that much when TB is in such a cap crunch. This was a major move they HAD to make if they are to resign their RFAs.

      • liqueur des fenetres

        There is also the assumption that we get the same Miller as played in Tampa. Since he wasn’t a first liner there he really needed to earn his ice time and play a role. Now, he’ll be granted 1st or 2nd line time, hopefully he has the character to not change the way he approaches the game.

      • Locust

        I think Miller likes the abrasive style, he just didnt want to be used as the ‘designated fighter’ when it was obvious someone needed an attitude adjustment.

    • Rich Dawson

      I like that….every team gets 7 picks every year…like their ante to the game….they are the cheapest commodity in the sport….having functional players in the architecture of the team is the most expensive….Miller is a mucker, just like Burrows or Brendan Gallagher….that is what 2 lines in the top 6 need….every who can’t understand that is on drugs

    • harpdog

      An Idiot,not, the real idiots are the ones who think that making the playoffs is the holy grail. Yes they could make the playoff but there is no way this team gets past the first round. Wow woopie, they win 1 game, now who is the idiot?

      • Dank22

        From NHL.com: “First round of Stanley Cup Playoffs was unprecedented, unpredictable
        Four wild cards advance, all division leaders eliminated, three series go to Game 7

        All four Wild Card teams advanced for the first time ever, marking the first postseason in NHL history in which all division winners were eliminated in the opening round. It also marked the first time ever that the top team from each conference were knocked out in round one.”

        Making the playoffs is the holy grail to the Aqualinis… you know, the owners of this team who also likes to dabble as the GM?

    • Suki Sidhu

      Very well put & written not like all of this other BS about paying too much I think it’s a fair trade & a good trade for the Canucks bcuz all of these guys who don’t like the trade are the same idiots who post that we don’t have enough scoring wingers & now that we got one their still complaining (SMH)

  • Hockey Bunker

    the bottom line is , who knows. So lets analyze concrete changes on the team we do know about.
    1. the defense is improved, through internal changes and that is before any trade or further additions.
    2. a full season of Pearson, and Miller is better than a full season of Goldy and Granlund.
    3. the young players will all be better, its how it works. Petey, Bo, Jake, Brock are not going to forget how to play hockey or shoot the puck, or skate. And Miller adds size skill and grit to that group.
    The world is a risk, and you have to take them to succeed. For every one of your negatives we can find a positive — Markstrom and Demko win the Vesina, the injury curse disappears, Canucks have two 40 goal scorers and two 30 goal scorers. Quinn Hughes beats his brother for Rookie of the Year. See I have an imagination too.
    But here is the bottom line….what does the Miller signing say to the TEAM. It says Hey boys, we are serious , we are going to win starting NOW, so strap on your helmets lets rock and roll. That is the greatest benefit. Its worth more than a first rounder…. It sends the right message to the team.

    Here is what we do know about the pick, in 2021, the best they can help the Canucks is 3 seasons from now. What message does that send to your players. It tells

    goal scorers, the Power play and PK are top 10.

    • Hockey Bunker

      Oops — the last three lines were an old post which my itchy trigger finger missed….please ignore…. Wish they had an edit function!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Some counter-arguments:

    1) Jacob Markstrom has a good season.

    If you map Markstrom’s games based on SV% and cumulative SV.%, you’ll see that Markstrom is totally manic. He has been alternating between quality starts (QS) and non-QS over the last two years (using a league SV.% average of 0.911). Overall, he has 65 QS over 120 games which means more often than not (54.2%), he plays better than the average NHL goaltender. Based on statistics alone, it’s totally plausible (actually, more likely than not) that Markstrom has a “good” season. But if you’ve been watching the games, you’ll see that Markstrom has seemed to figure out the technique to stop giving up soft goals – mainly by closing up the gaps that his large frame gives up. Watch the games.

    2) Thatcher Demko isn’t ready to be a full-time backup.

    What, he needs a 4th year in Utica? In his last year of NCAA, Demko was 5th with a 0.935 SV%. In the 2017-2018 (the last full season that he played without injury), amongst AHL goaltenders that played more than 30 games, Demko was 4th in SV% at 0.922. In the 9 NHL games he played this year, his average SV% (0.911) masked by two bad games – otherwise, he had a SV% of 0.944 in the other 7 games. He’s proven he’s elite in the NCAA, he’s proven he’s elite in the AHL, and in the small sample of NHL stats, he’s also proven he’s elite. If he’s an “unknown commodity”, it’s because you didn’t do your homework. Read the stats.

    3) The Canucks have injury trouble.

    I looked at the injury reports for Tanev from The Sports Forecaster and a quick analysis showed about half of Tanev’s missed games were do to shot blocking. The Canucks have gone on record saying that they will de-emphasize shot blocking which should reduce a lot of injuries on the back-end. It helps when you have reliable goaltenders who you can trust to make the first save. We have that in Demko and should have that in Markstrom. Listen to the coach.

    4) The teams around them in the standings improve.

    Maybe the Canucks can improve more than the others, did you consider that? We have elite players in Pettersson, Boeser, and Horvat and now we can add Demko and Hughes. Even better if Goldobin, Virtanen, or Gaudette can step up or if guys like Juolevi can make the team. If we don’t have freak accidents, we get Baertschi, Sutter, Roussel, and Beagle for full seasons. We acquired good depth scorers in Leivo and Pearson, let’s see how they do over a full season. Addition by subtraction – we got rid of Gudbranson, Nilsson, and Pouliot and Benning isn’t afraid to dump other non-performers. We have a ton of potential on the roster and Benning only adds to it every year. Green has been incrementally increasing points in both years he’s been here.

    Calgary doesn’t have a starting goaltender. The Sharks and Vegas are in cap hell. Colorado is still a one-line team. Dallas is a one-line team whose owners hate Benn and Seguin and they’re dumping Spezza. Minnesota and LA are in a rebuild. Anaheim and Chicago are in rebuild denial. Arizona still sucks regardless of the number of spreadsheets Chayka makes. Edmonton is Edmonton. Stop trying to force feedyour negative narrative with imbalanced articles.

  • speering major

    The Canucks paid too much but with the protection its fine. The Canucks have to miss the playoffs twice to make this bad, and they have to miss badly the second time to make this really bad.

    Next years draft is expected to be deep. If they Canucks miss again, they will have their pick. In 2021 they will likely be picking someone that can help the team in 2024. Picks in the 10-15 range rarely become stars. The most common positive outcome is a respectable player

    If Canucks make the playoffs once in the next 2 seasons this is a clear win.

  • Defenceman Factory

    The Canucks paid a lot for Miller and yes probably more than should have been paid. It’s a fallacy to think Vancouver had the Bolts over a barrel because of cap pressure. Miller is a good player at a reasonable cost. There is a market for him. To get him you have to pay more than what others are willing to. That is how it has and always will work.

    Obviously what the real cost of Miller is remains to be seen over the next 2 seasons. What is too often ignored is what the real benefit of Miller could be. If he forms part of a top line that produces 90 goals, keeps Sutter out of the top 6 if injuries hit, provides strong leadership and pushes this team over the line into playoff contention the hindsight will be favourable. There is downside risk but there is also upside potential.

    The value of a transaction varies depending on the objectives you hope to achieve with it. The Canucks want some playoff games sooner rather than later, certainly for revenue but also to get young players some of that experience. The Canucks will be a playoff team very soon. I see 3 more seasons before they are a legitimate contender. This coincides with the end of Luongo costs, Eriksson and Beagle contracts and the maturation of their current prospects. Yes it could have been done quicker and yes Benning is probably not the right GM to take the Canucks down the home stretch. He has built a great amateur scouting process and a solid core of prospects. The rest of his work is average at best. The next GM will benefit.

    Below is a link to an article on TSN recently about how poor drafting has necessitated the Miller trade. If at some point between 2010 and 2015 the Canucks had drafted a solid top 6 winger they wouldn’t be making this trade.

  • Killer Marmot

    I make it a policy never to agree McDonald, but he’s right. Too expensive, especially given that (1) Tampa Bay were motivated sellers, (2) the Canuck are still rebuilding, and need their first-round picks, and (3) Miller is a good player but by no means elite.

    • jaybird43

      In another thread, I looked at several years of players drafted between #14 and #21 between 2012 and 2015. Most play in the NHL, few stars. A respectable player as someone said. But, you dont have to wait until 2024 to get them. Miller is now. I am warming up to this, the seconardy core is stronger than any time in the recent past. It’s time to see if things can happen and I think this trade makes a roughly appropriate balance between cost and value, and between risk and reward.

      • Killer Marmot

        If Miller blossoms on the 1st or 2nd line — e.g., 20 goals and 50 points — then much is foregiven. But Miller was playing for some very good teams when he was posting his 50 points seasons, and he might have trouble reproducing that in Vancouver. That’s the danger.

        • bobdaley44

          Doesn’t matter what team you’re on it matters who your linemates are, if you get PP time and how much TOI you get. He’ll be getting top line minutes playing with good players. The guys a beast and exactly what they need. Character veteran with toughness, size, good skill on a cost controlled contract.

          • Cageyvet

            I agree completely. Somebody commented he doesn’t “like” to play the tough game, but that’s not what I see. When a player has some skill, he’s not always going to grind, but he certainly seems capable of getting the puck off the boards and distributing it to his linemates.

            I didn’t like having to include the 3rd rounder, but the 1st was kind of inevitable. His value due to his contract dollars and term is hard to find.

            There’s lots of talk about TB not liking him that much if they were trading him. They destroyed the league this year in the regular season. Their decisions look nothing like the rest of the league. Their team was full of players, good players. It’s like buying a used car from an owner in the British Properties instead of well, most everywhere else. It”s been taken care of well and the owner knows it. Somebody else will be in the market if you’re not going to buck up at least a little.

            Most teams would consider him part of their core, and would not want to move that level of cost-certainty combined with production. He’s relatively cheap until he’s 30, when he apparently will get paid sick money as a UFA and start declining….but I digress. This is the best time to get a player like this: proven without being old, paid well without being a burden, and can play literally any forward position, lines 1-4. Lots of incremental value here that adds up to “no freebies” when he’s getting traded.

            I’d love to have some comparables to list, but this type of player rarely gets traded, none come to mind. That’s what the salary cap impact was on this trade – availability. You hear cap crunch and think bargain, but how about cap crunch and you get an actual player, not an overpaid cast-off? JB didn’t hit a home run here, but he put the ball in play. Let’s see how he does, I expect 60+ points if he’s on the top line.

          • Killer Marmot

            Miller’ll get top line minutes at first. But if his production seems a bit low, Green will try someone else — Roussel, Leivo, Baertschi, Eriksson, whoever. And Miller’s production will then fall as he’s on the third line and not getting a lot of PP time, and the Canucks will have given up a first-round draft pick for a third liner.

            Not saying it will definitely happen, but it’s perfectly plausible.

  • mR_twiddleR

    I said this before and i’ll say it again…

    If the Canucks miss the playoffs next year they keep the pick. So 2020 is irrelevant.

    Now say they miss the playoffs the following year as well and Tampa gets that pick. Using this past season as the measuring stick, let’s say the pick is 10th overall in 2021. So let’s say for arguement sake a top 5 talent like Vasili Podkolzin slides to them at 10 and they take him, but he needs to spend 2 years in the KHL beforr coming over. Now we’re in the 2024 season before that 2021 1st rounder plays a game. Now let’s say it takes him 2 seasons to develop into an impact player, that puts us into 2026 by the time that pick is playing meaningful minutes in the NHL

    So now even in a hypothetical worst case scenario, Vancouver misses the playoffs 2x and TB drafts a stud, it’s still the 2026 season by the time that pick comes to fruition.

    In 2026:
    Bo Horvat will be 31.
    Brock Boeser will be 29.
    Elias Pettersson will be 28.
    Quinn Hughes will be 27.
    Vasili Podkolzin will be 25.

    By 2026 the window for this yoing core to have developed into something will have come and gone. A 2021 pick does nothing to help the development of that group. A 2021 pick does nothing to insulate this group and help them take the next steps.

    JT Miller on the other hand does exactly that.

    In the end, Benning and the Canucks bet on themselves. They bet on this young core.

    It was a calculated risk, but trading the 2021 1st round pick was the correct play to help this group.

    I’ll fight anyone who says this goes against the rebuild.

    • Dirk22

      This scenario sounds a lot more like a realistic one as opposed to the worst case. Even the Canucks 2nd most recent pick at #7 was playing at the end of the season. And we all know the worst scenario that could happen if the Canucks enter the lottery. It’s not drafting 10. Not saying it’s likely but if you’re into hypotheticals and calling them worst at least make them the hypothetical worst.

      • mR_twiddleR

        Worst case in the sense that they miss the playoffs in back to back years, but ya i hear what you’re saying.

        But since if you want realistic then let’s be realistic. Lottery wins are nice but they are random luck of the draw, so put the possibility of actually winning the lottery aside for a moment. On their current trajectory it’s probably fair to place the Canucks anywhere in the 10th-20th overall range for the 2021 season. A bubble team contending for a spot, if things break their way they make it, if they don’t – they don’t. So dumb luck and winning the lottery aside, we can pretty safely project that pick to fall in somewhere in the mid-teens. What kind of player could Tampa expect to pull if they drafted mid-teens?

        Well, JT Miller was a 15th overall pick in his draft year.  He spent 2 full seasons in the AHL, then parts of 2 more seasons up and down, becoming a full-time NHL player around 22-23 years old. Along the way scored 50pts, became known for his versatility, and signed a long-term contract for good money. In other words, he’s exactly the type of player you can expect to find drafting in the middle of the 1st round.

        So now this time using JT Miller himself as the example, you’re looking in all likelihood at drafting a player in 2021 who’s fully developed into a solid NHL contributer by around 2026.

        So again, if your goal is to build around and squeeze the most out of THIS group of Canucks prospects, why wait until 2026 to develop your own version of JT Miller, when you can trade for him today.

        It was a calculated risk. But realistically, even IF the Canucks miss the playoffs both years (which is worst case scenario) the only real way they lose the trade is if they win the draft lottery.

        And that is completely 100% up to chance anyway – so F it.

      • Cageyvet

        Yeah, I liked the post, but saying that pick won’t play meaningful minutes until 2026 is a stretch. Saying those won’t be truly impactful minutes, or minutes with noticeably higher production than Miller is more likely if they do hit a good player with the pick.

        Either way, it’s definitely about surrounding the core with enough talent to not waste their prime years. Quibble with the acquisitions and cost if you will, but JB is not just making moves to save his job. It’s the right thing to do, your organization should always trying to win.

        I was team tank at the end of every season, sometimes at the beginning, it’s called reality. You don’t get Miller before you have the kids on the team, but how long do you wait? Miller is only 2 years older than Bo, and we have him until he’s 30. That seems spot on to me, he contributes meaningfully until the age everyone seems to agree is the beginning of the end, and you can let him walk then. At that point you should already have a kid pushing for his spot.

  • Burnabybob

    At the very least, it’s a risky trade. And another problem with it is that Podkolzin won’t join the team for another two years, so Benning is counting on Hughes, Miller, and I guess Juolevi to lift the team into playoff contention in the next two years. That’s a tall order. I bet there’s at least a 50% chance the Canucks end up giving up a lottery pick in this trade.

    • jaybird43

      One thing that no one is really mentioning here, is the recent draft record of the Canucks and that maybe adding a couple of complementary pieces within two years that add strength to the mix. It’s not too hard to think that two (or more?) of Lind, Jasek, Joulevi, Teves, Rafferty, Hoglander, Madden and maybe one of the longer shots (I like the Czech kid in that role) make it on the team (and maybe Goldy blooms, AND Trymakin returns). Then you’ve got a young team, still the defence to deal with, but hell, three years ago you had the goalkeeping to deal with, the forwards to deal with, AND the defence to deal with. Now, it’s just just down to one of those pieces to fix. This trade will help the Canucks, while it’s young enough to make some noise as they say.

    • Suki Sidhu

      Very well put & written not like all of this other BS about paying too much I think it’s a fair trade & a good trade for the Canucks bcuz all of these guys who don’t like the trade are the same idiots who post that we don’t have enough scoring wingers & now that we got one their still complaining (SMH)

  • Puck Viking

    Erik haula just got dealt for a prospect drafted in the second round. He makes half of what Miller does and is a better player.

    No one in their right mind thinks an over paid middle 6 winger is worth 5 million and a 1st and a 3rd LOLLLL

    • You omitted that Haula is coming back from major knee surgery that forced him to miss 67 regular season games and 7 playoff games. And he’s a pending free agent and prior to his big year in Vegas, he averaged 25 points per 70 games. Conveniently omitting facts to fit your narrative?

      • Cageyvet

        And he’s a 28 year old coming off that surgery, that’s a concern. The only season that was close to Miller’s was Vegas’s magical first year. Most of their team regressed somewhat, he did the job, and was a good fit, but Miller has been solid every year. Calling him a better player is more than a stretch, and he’s sure as hell a lot higher risk, which dropped his value. Funny how the marketplace actually understands this, Viking, it’s pretty straightforward.

        • canuckfan

          Vegas will keep slipping as Fluery slip so will the team. He gave the team swagger and covered up their mistakes with some pretty incredible saves. They lost in the playoffs because he was no longer magical as Fluery slips so will the team.

          • CamBurke

            You’re an idiot. Vegas reached the SC final in it’s first year using five or six different goalies due to injuries, including Fleury.

            They have achieved more in two seasons than the Canucks in the last EIGHT and will only get better as their draft picks come to fruition! FACT.

  • Kanuckhotep

    The Canucks have arrived at a point where proven veteran scoring is needed to add to the exciting young core of 53, 40, 6 and 43 and attained this in J.T. Miller. Probably think they gave up a trifle more than necessary but sometimes you have to roll the bones and that time is now. They got all the grinder/ checkers they need and I see Benning’s thinking here.

  • Rich Dawson

    I like that….every team gets 7 picks every year…like their ante to the game….they are the cheapest commodity in the sport….having functional players in the architecture of the team is the most expensive….Miller is a mucker, just like Burrows or Brendan Gallagher….that is what 2 lines in the top 6 need….

    • Killer Marmot

      1. You need at least a few elite players for a team to be competitive.
      2. Your best shot at getting an elite player is in the first-round of the draft.
      3. It’s near impossible to pry an elite young player away from another team.

      Conclusion: You need your first-round picks to build a competitive team. They won’t ensure success, but without them you ensure you won’t have success.

      • We have elite players: Pettersson, Boeser, Horvat, Hughes, and Demko. Hopefully, Juolevi and Podkolzin can also be that. That’s two centres, wingers, defensemen, and a goaltender. That’s a solid core, especially if Hughes could play the right side. What’s killing us is a lack of secondary scoring. Miller gives us that now. We don’t want the mistake of the revolving door of wingers with the Sedins. Benning is making a statement by saying I’m supporting my guys now because I believe in them. I agree.

  • truthseeker

    So in other words nobody has any f…king clue what is going to happen because the NHL is a totally unpredictable league where “luck” has more of an influence on outcomes than any other factor.
    Therefore the very title of this article is illogical in and of itself because it’s making a prediction, when the article clearly says nobody knows what’s going to happen.

    The really important question is:
    Was this article intentionally titled as click bait, or is the author that illogical that he didn’t comprehend the fallacy he delivered, in the first place?

      • CamBurke

        Murzyn played in the Stanley Cup final… what are YOUR credentials again? … besides trashing a site you have been posting sh*t on religiously for FIVE YEARS and throwing the late Jason Botchford under the bus and saying NOTHING upon his sad loss.

        What a pathetic, slimy toad you are little man.

  • harpdog

    first off all you Benning lovers who think he is so great thinks e drafts good. No he doesn’t, Bracket is the chief scout, not Benning. Name me one good trade of 1 good free agent that Benning has signed. Brad Richardson led Coyote in scoring after he left Van and had his bum full of splinters by Green. Green is Bennings man. Green was a choice because no one would coach in Van and Green is a sad story of a coach. I am a huge Canucks fan but lets get real, Between Auilinnis, Benning and Green, this team will never ever win a cup. Seattle will win a cup before this sad sack of a team does because unless Benning can bull 4 very good D men out his bum, we haven’t got a chance. I hope the Canuck lose so we can get rid of Green and Benning and this is the only way that can happen. Oh yea, when Benning said they were going to rebuild and they would make the playoff in 2-3 years, that was 4 years ago.

    • Dank22

      Jim Benning has been a professional scout for over 25 years. He learned the craft from his father, who scouted professionally for close to 5 decades.

      Brackett was hired by Gillis in 2008 and him, along with the usual suspects like Delorme, Gradin and even Smyl were the worst drafters in team history. They were chastised as being terrible even under Burke and Nonis, but at least the entire 2011 core came from those drafts. The cupboards were stripped bare under Gillis.

      It’s no coincidence that since Benning came on board that this franchise has had arguably the most successful, consistent and sustained drafting with draftees making the team every season. Is it possible that Benning taught these guys and turned them from being mediocre scouts into much better ones? I would say yes.

      • Benning brought structure which shockingly has never existed in the Canucks’ scouting department. How can you talk about a player when you don’t even have a common vocabulary? Gillis had years to do this and didn’t even realize that was a problem. Benning put the right guy in charging of scouting.

        Gillis played his strengths as an agent. Benning is playing his strengths as a scout. Benning can find roster players deep in the draft but can’t sign a UFA contract or pull off a good trade to save his life. Gillis couldn’t draft a single good player with his draft picks – he had to give up Schneider the night before the draft and took a flyer on Horvat who was consistently ranked 10-20 in draft rankings. But at least Gillis did a few good trades (Ehrhoff, Higgins, Booth – yes, that was a good trade for what he gave up and got) although most of his trades were crap too (e.g. Ballard, Roy, Luongo, Hodgson) or not notable.

  • Freud

    If your goal is to just make the playoffs to save face and cling to your job, this move makes sense.

    If your goal is to win a Cup, this move is stupid and desperate.

    Which one of these two approaches you support speaks volumes.

    • canuckfan

      Of course the goal is to make the playoffs once in who knows what could happen. With Bo’s drive he will be a beast in the playoffs plus a lot of the prospects that have been added have that drive when the playoffs hit such as Joulevi he was incredible took his team on his back and helped them win a round, same will happen with the Canucks as Benning has added prospects who hate to lose and want to get better. If they lose the first round that will drive them to want to get better for the following season. Enough of hoping and praying that we will win the draft lottery time to make a push for the playoffs. Those who think that it isn’t worth being in the playoffs unless it is for a serious cup run are dreaming. We don’t want to become the Oilers we have enough talent and players with experience and drive the make the playoffs, once in there they with play their asses off to win. They will see how the officiating changes how to play without the puck, and what happens after the whistle blows. The young players can’t learn this from watching they have to experience it. Look at Calgary they were ready for a deep run, but were surprised by Colorado whose players learned a lot and will push for a longer run this next season. Vegas is slipping and will slode further down the standings as Fluery gets older, yes the team plays a fast paced game but it has been Fluery who has got the team to where they are.
      I don’t know if the Canucks will make the playoffs but with the changes to the team we are getting close enough to taste it and look forward to cheering on a team that will go out and play hard and push their limits every game. The young players got a taste of what it is like to battle for points after the all star game to push for a spot.
      Tired of the same old people getting mad at the team for winning games because it will affect our lottery odds at first pick. Tired of the comments from those who still want to try and win the lottery for first overall. Time to push to get better and that is what Benning is doing who cares what the team pays someone its not your money if the guy signing the cheque is okay with it it is their money.
      All the Eriksson haters cheered on the signing he hasn’t scored but has been good in other areas defensively. Yes if they can get rid of his contract I am fine with that but if they can’t he still can help the team. With the added depth that the team has on the forward positions sure are going to be some good battles up front and Utica’s depth will change for the better as well. Some will get picked up off waivers but I doubt that.

  • J-Canuck

    To get a player like Miller with 4yrs at 5.2 you have to give up something! If Miller were a FA, he would get 7 mil over 7 seasons. What could go right:

    1. With Tanner Pearson and Miller on the wings, Bo Horvat line has a break out season. Pearson played well w Bo in limited games and should thrive with a guy like Miller!
    2. Additions of Quinn and Ollie will lighten the load on Edler, which should help with injury. Also Schenn’s audition was solid which is what the Canucks need. Stretcher will play a bigger role with confidence from the Worlds. Having an offense that drives the play will help with injuries because the D won’t be trapped in their own zone blocking shots.
    And A FA?
    3. PP with Quinn and Miller added will take a dramatic jump!
    4. Thatcher is ready and will lighten the load on Marky. More likely than the opposite.
    The Canucks finally added youth to their line up last year, instead of adding vets to play with the Those young guys are the real deal, as I believe Quinn and Olli will be for the D!
    Adding Brock and EP to the offense changed things, adding Q and O will bring the D-line out of the dark into the light! Adding Demko to lighten the load will help also.

    The Canucks were a playoff contender when healthy and now the O/D/PP should all improve!

  • Captain Video

    The real problem was that, even though there wasn’t any competition for JT Miller, Benning didn’t even bother to negotiate. He just hit Tampa’s ask. That’s a complete dereliction of his role as GM. It’s his job to haggle and nickle-and-dime other clubs.
    When you look at the salary dumps involving Marleau, Subban and the other Miller, you see the results obtained by talented GM who actually engage in some negotiation. You had one job, Jim …