The J.T. Miller sweepstakes may be taking a more serious direction soon.
Yesterday we analyzed the details surrounding a potential trade that involved the New York Islanders acquiring Miller for a package that involved the 13th overall pick in last week’s draft. While that pick eventually ended up in the Chicago Blackhawks’ hands, the rumours surrounding those alleged failed trade talks have been everywhere.
Among those rumours was the idea that Canucks management hadn’t given the Islanders permission to talk to Miller about a contract extension before making a deal, which killed any trade talks. On Monday morning’s edition of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman confirmed some important context to that notion and the timeline the Canucks have in mind with Miller.
“I don’t think Vancouver had given anybody permission to speak to Miller. That was Friday night, and I got a call today. And someone said it was true at the time, but there are some indications that that may change now,” Friedman said.
“I don’t know the timing, I don’t know if it’s happened yet, I don’t know if it will happen. But someone said to me today, ‘Don’t be so hard and fast anymore, that Vancouver won’t give permission,’. It was true at the time, but they think there’s a point here, and they just wouldn’t tell me when, when that could change a little bit. So we’ll see where this develops over the next week.”
As Friedman’s co-host Jeff Marek points out during the conversation, the Canucks holding firm on any permission to discuss an extension could be used to give Vancouver extra bargaining power in trade discussions. But if the stance seems unreasonable to an inquiring team, it could kill a potential deal without any concessions.
“Sometimes simply the team that’s acquiring you, they don’t need to get a deal done. But they’ll say to you, “if we acquire this player, what are we looking at?’ And maybe they’ll give you a range, and that’s kind of what happens,” Friedman said.
“I’d heard on Friday by that time, the Canucks hadn’t let anyone talk to Miller. I don’t know, as we tape this on Sunday, that they’ve let anyone talk to Miller. But I have been told that ‘don’t be so strong on it,’ because it may change.”
Wherever the Canucks stand on Miller, the market for centres is looking pretty fruitful just a day before the start of free agency as several big names including Evgeni Malkin and Nazem Kadri are set to test the waters. The Canucks have the benefit of one final year of control on Miller’s contract, so Vancouver will likely need to wait for the biggest UFAs to come off the board before making any final decisions on their leading point-getter.
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