The Vancouver Canucks outshot the St. Louis Blues 39-17 last night but still managed to lose 3-1 because of a strong performance from Ville Husso. Even with that loss, the Canucks are still in better shape than they were a month ago, sitting just four points out of a wild card spot in the Western Conference. With that in mind, the question of the trade deadline continues to come up, particularly with regards to J.T. Miller. Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV spoke with Canucks president Jim Rutherford, who called Miller the team’s best forward and explained that more management pieces need to be in place before putting together a deadline strategy.
Miller, 28, is having an outstanding season, with 39 points in 39 games while averaging more than 21 minutes a night for the Canucks. He’s really been the only forward the team can rely on every night and would be a big chip at the deadline if they decided to sell. With one more year left on his deal after this season and a reasonable $5.25MM cap hit, there’s at least some reason to believe that the Canucks could hold onto him through the end of the year even if they fall out of the playoff race.
- Another piece that has been speculated on quite thoroughly is Jaroslav Halak, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. Part of the discourse has been about Halak’s $1.25MM performance bonus for playing in 10 games, something that will come into effect should he appear in two more matches. Rutherford told Dhaliwal that the bonus isn’t an issue for them and that Halak helps them win games. Dhaliwal even went so far as to suggest the decision has already been made to not move Halak.
- After hiring Emilie Castonguay as an assistant GM earlier today, Rutherford is nearing a decision on the next general manager of the team. Iain MacIntyre of Sportsnet tweets that in-person interviews with five finalists have been completed, with a hire potentially coming this week. It’s that GM, along with Rutherford, Castonguay and the rest of the front office, who will need to form a deadline strategy in the coming weeks.