J.T. Miller and more quietly, Tanner Pearson, have been great under Bruce Boudreau
Photo credit:© Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1 year ago
The Vancouver Canucks snagged a big 4-3 win on the road against the New York Islanders Thursday night. Forward J.T. Miller picked up his 21st goal of the season and extended his point streak to eight games.
Miller has been the most dominant forward on the Canucks’ roster this season and continues to produce at an elite-level pace. He currently has 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in his last eight games and is one of the big contributors to the Canucks recent success. In their last 10 games, they currently have a 7-3 record.
Miller has nine goals and 21 points in his last 14 games, an astonishing stat line, to say the least. According to Dobber Prospects, Miller’s PTS/G is the highest it’s ever been in his career, currently sitting at 1.13 and prior to that was 1.04 in 2019-20 when he registered a career-high of 72 points. His shooting percentage (S%) is up as well from 14.2% to 15.9%, which has been a big reason why he’s been able to produce at the rate he is currently at.
Now on to the advanced stats, the nerdy stuff that we all love. Miller’s PTS/60 is up from 2.5 last season to 3.2 and the biggest increase comes in the individual points percentage column where he has seen a drastic increase from 62.2% to 80.3%. Miller is one of the most useful players on the ice on a nightly basis, as his Corsi For% (CF%) sits at 53.%Dobber Prospects currently has him projected to hit 93 points at his current pace. He has the chance to smash career highs and set new totals across the board in the goals, assists and points column.
This season, the Canucks are 1-14-1 when Miller has not produced a point. It is evident how much the Canucks need him in their future. After all, it was Bruce Boudreau who made a recent comment saying the only way he would part with Miller was if Connor McDavid was on the returning end of the deal.
“If we got McDavid in return I’d say it’s okay,” said Boudreau with a laugh when asked about how much losing Miller would affect his team. “We don’t even talk about it, I haven’t talked one iota about J.T. getting traded. He’s the cornerstone right now — one of the cornerstones of our team, so we just go on. To me, that’s all noise. It makes for great media, and I love reading it all when they talk about trade deadline stuff, but nobody’s talked to me about anything.”
Miller’s continued success with the Canucks shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone though. The versatile forward can play both the wing and center position allowing for him to be slotted and moved around between lines easily. At 6’1 and 218 lbs, Miller also has the size and strength to win board battles and play a physical and high-tempo game. His toolkit allows for him to be thrown into any situation which is part of the reason he has excelled. His special team’s play has also played a big part in his current season, as Miller currently has 26 powerplay points, and will set records in that category as well.
It’s not just the on-ice abilities of Miller that make him such a likeable player. In a recent interview, goaltender Thatcher Demko spoke about how Miller is a big leader and voice in the Canucks’ locker room. Having a player who not only excels on the ice but can maintain good relationships in the locker room is a key part of the success of a hockey team. He has all the leadership capabilities and traits to help lead this Canucks team into the future.
While his linemates have been juggled around lately, another player that has had some recent luck is forward Tanner Pearson. Prior to the Islanders game, Pearson was on a five-game point streak that saw him accumulate six points (four goals, two assists) in that time.
Since Bruce Boudreau has taken over as head coach, the former Stanley Cup champion is another player who has managed to find his game once again. While under Boudreau, Pearson has recorded 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) in his last 31 games — a huge increase from just seven points in 21 games to start the season.
His PTS/60 has increased from 1.2 to 1.8, and his IPP% has also dramatically increased from 45.0% to 55.6%. His CF% sits at 52.2.
Having a player like Pearson turn his game around will only help the Canucks heading into the last quarter of the season before the playoffs. With a Stanley Cup ring in his back pocket, Pearson brings the experience of what it was like to battle for the hardest championship in sports — and his experience playing at that level will be crucial for every player to learn from.
As Boudreau continues to work his magic, who will be the next player to go on a hot streak?
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