With salary dumps starting off the day after both Patrick Marleau and P.K. Subban were traded earlier, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Vancouver Canucks are closing in on a deal to acquire forward J.T. Miller and the four years remaining at $5.25MM from the Tampa Bay Lightning. Vancouver trades goaltender Marek Mazanec, a 2019 third-round pick (goaltender Hugo Alnefelt) and a conditional first-round pick in 2020, reports NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. If the Canucks do not make the playoffs, the 2020 first-rounder will be conveyed in 2021.
With plenty of salary cap issues, the Tampa Bay Lightning had to move out some salary, especially with restricted Brayden Point expected to get a big raise this summer. Miller seemed to make the most sense as the forward struggled last season in his first full year with the Lightning. After posting more than 20 goals for three straight years, Miller saw his goal-scoring numbers drop to just 13 last season. With a no-trade clause kicking in on July 1, the team had to make a move sooner rather than later.
For Vancouver, Miller should provide some much needed offense as Miller can play all three positions and still is just 26 years old and should find a role somewhere in the team’s top six. If he continues to struggle like he did last year, he could always take over the third-line center duties. The Canucks have the cap space to take in the deal, but Miller’s four year’s at $5.25MM is pretty reasonable had the team tried to land a player of Miller’s success on the free-agent market.
It wasn’t a long stay for Miller, who the team acquired as part of the Ryan McDonagh trade back at the trade deadline in 2018. He looked sharp for the team’s stretch run that year, tallying 10 goals and 18 points in 19 games. The team then signed him to a five-year, $26.25MM contract last offseason, but now decided to move on from him. The team got solid value for him as they expect to get either the team’s 2020 first-rounder (assuming the Canucks make the playoffs) or the team’s 2021 first-rounder. They also added a third-round pick in this year’s draft, while also getting Mazanec. While it looks like it would fill their hole in the net in Syracuse, the team only picked up Mazanec’s rights as he has already signed a contract in the Czech League for two years. The team already lost both of Syracuse’s goaltenders from last year as Eddie Pasquale has already signed with Barys Nur-Sultan in the KHL, while they traded Connor Ingram to Tampa Bay for a future seventh-round pick.