There has been a lot of speculation about J.T. Miller’s future over the last few days and during that time he wasn’t even with the Canucks. Miller was placed in isolation after a positive COVID test five days ago, but has now rejoined his teammates after exiting the protocol. He was on the ice for Vancouver today and based on jersey color, Thomas Drance of The Athletic tweets that it looks like he’ll be reunited with Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson on the “Lotto Line” for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Miller, 28, hasn’t played in a week, but every time he does step on the ice for Vancouver this season he only improves his trade value. With 39 points through 39 games, he’s on pace for his best offensive season yet and the second point-per-game campaign since arriving in Vancouver in 2019. The veteran forward has been linked to the New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, and Minnesota Wild in recent days, with Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff discussing his future again today:
I think the Rangers stand out a bit as the team that has been ’next level’ in terms of interest. They have a fit there, he knows what it’s like, he’s comfortable with the organization having already played there. That makes sense.
It’s not just a simple rental in the case of Miller either, as his contract extends through next season at a reasonable $5.25MM cap hit. He does not hold any trade protection, as the Canucks voided the modified no-trade clause that was originally included in the contract when he signed it with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Because the clause had not kicked in yet, Vancouver was allowed to do so after acquiring him in trade.
The Canucks made a few other moves today as well. Spencer Martin has been cleared to play again, after he too was put in the protocol just two days ago. He at least will give Vancouver another professional goaltender until Thatcher Demko and Jaroslav Halak exit the protocol. The team played with an emergency backup on Sunday, giving Michael DiPietro the start. The team has also recalled Ashton Sautner to the taxi squad while moving Sheldon Dries to the taxi squad in order to open a spot for Miller.
Unfortunately, Tanner Pearson tested positive this morning according to Ben Kuzma of Postmedia, and the Canucks have now officially announced that he is in the protocol. He’ll be unavailable for the team tonight.