2023-24 was the season Canucks fans fell in love with JT Miller: Year In Review

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Paterson
17 days ago
For JT Miller, the 2023-24 National Hockey League season was full of individual accomplishments: Vancouver Canucks scoring leader, team MVP and NHL All Star. It was also the year the 31-year-old fully won over the Canucks fan base. From loud chants of his name echoing throughout Rogers Arena to 18,000 paying customers joyfully finishing the work of public address announcer Al Murdoch anytime Miller found the back of the net, an undeniable bond was forged this season between the player and his many supporters.
This was a significant development for a number of reasons. Despite reaching a then career-best 99 points two seasons ago, questions still lingered about Miller’s attitude and approach to the game. Was he simply padding his stats on a bad team to boost his contract demands? And was he the kind of teammate and player that could raise the level of performance of those around him? 
In the first season of a seven-year/$56M extension, Miller answered just about every question about his ability and approach to the game. He was a two-way force scoring 37 goals and finishing ninth in NHL scoring with 103 points. He also won 56.3% of his face-offs — many of them in a match-up role against other top players in the league. For his efforts, Miller received a first place nod and finished tied for 14th in voting for this year’s Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward.
After knocking on the door for the past few seasons, Miller has without a doubt reached star status in the NHL.
A fiery, emotional leader, Miller has taken his game to another level under head coach Rick Tocchet. Aside from an early season benching for a portion of a period in an October game against Nashville, Miller led by example and often put the Canucks on his shoulders helping the team win 50 games, collect 109 points and lay claim to the Pacific Division regular season title. With Miller on the ice at 5-on-5 last season, the Canucks outscored opponents 64-37. And when placed on a line with Brock Boeser and Pius Suter down the stretch, that trio held a 16-4 scoring edge and controlled 66.7% of expected goals.
Miller also developed into one of the premier power play producers in the NHL finishing tied for sixth with a team-high 40 points including 10 goals and 30 assists.
It was more of the same for Miller in the playoffs where he tied with Boeser for the team lead with 12 points, led the club with 29 shots on goal, scored a huge game-winner in Game 5 against the Edmonton Oilers and took on tough assignments in both rounds the Canucks played.
In addition to being named Team MVP at the final home game of the regular season, Miller also took home the Pavel Bure Award as the club’s Most Exciting Player as voted on by fans.
By almost any measure imaginable, it was a highly successful season for JT Miller.
But as a player now over 30, he has spoken about recognizing the fact that he can’t play forever and knows he won’t have unlimited opportunities to win a Stanley Cup. That’s why it’s imperative the Canucks build on the season they just had and maximize their chances with their competitive window wide open. 
There is every reason to believe Miller can produce at an elite level again next season. But the Canucks may not need him to crest the 100-point mark again if they can get him scoring help throughout the line-up. One area the team needs Miller to address is the power play that faded down the stretch and through the playoffs. So much of the club’s work with the man-advantage flows through him regardless of where he is on the ice and he has to find ways to better distribute the puck to create chances. That may flow naturally if the Canucks can find ways to more effectively enter the offensive zone and set up on the power play.
June 22nd will mark five years since the Canucks acquired JT Miller on the second day of the NHL Draft at Rogers Arena. It was a trade that was met with skepticism in the moment. But it has turned out to be one of the best deals in recent club history. And that fact was cemented this season as Miller took his game to new heights and an appreciative fan base responded accordingly.

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