NHL Rumors: Canucks’ Miller, Flames looking, and Penguins big UFAs

J.T. Miller
Jan 27, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (9) is congratulated by his team mates on his goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks are weighing their options when it comes to forward J.T. Miller, who recorded a hat trick last night.

Every contender is salivating at adding a player like Miller for a playoff run. He’s a big and strong forward that can muck it up in the dirty areas plus score goals. That’s why the latest reporting states that teams need to get their best offers in now.

NHL Rumors: J.T. Miller trade talk

“My sense of that situation is that if you are a contender that plans to bid on J.T. Miller closer to the March 21 trade deadline, you better make your best deal before that,” Pierre LeBrun said on TSN’s Insider Trading.

Miller, 28, has one more year left on his deal worth $5.25M before becoming a UFA. He’s also been extremely productive with 44 points in 41 games for Vancouver this season. So there is no rush for new Canuck GM Patrik Allvin to make a decision.

“Is he part of what they view as the team moving forward? Number two, this team needs young prospects, more prospects in the pipeline,” LeBrun added. “If a team steps up with three to four prospects, three to four assets, it’s something they’ve probably got to look at.”

Teams that have been reportedly in on Miller are the Rangers, Flames, and Bruins. You can be sure that more will surface in the coming weeks.

Flames need goal scoring

The Calgary Flames have slowed down since their hot start at the beginning of the year. While they can play it tough defensively, more goals would be nice.

A player like J.T. Miller would be perfect, but it is hard to see the Canucks trading him to a division rival.

“They are going to have to bring in a player, maybe with term,” TFP’s Dennis Bernstein said. “They are going to need scoring.”

While no specific names were provided, two come to mind instantly. Arizona’s Phil Kessel as a rental option and Montreal’s Tyler Toffoli for someone with term.

Penguins have talked with Malkin and Letang

NHL Rumors Evgeni Malkin
Jan 4, 2020; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) during a first period face-off against Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had initial contract talks with two core players, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. While GM Ron Hextall would love to bring them back, he cautioned that both players may want to pursue other options.

“We’ve had discussions, but I don’t negotiate publicly,” Hextall said via NHL.com. “We’ve had discussions with those guys, and certainly they’re a top priority for us. We have a limited amount of cap space, so to squeeze everybody in is certainly our goal. Whether it’s possible or not, I don’t know.”

Malkin recently noted that right now he isn’t thinking about his next contract and Letang hasn’t said much about it himself. Sidney Crosby would love to see them back to keep the band together, but it sounds like nothing is definite.

“I think ‘Geno’ and [Letang], they’ve been here for, I think, 16 years,” Hextall continued. “I know they’ve done a lot for the city. The city’s been good to them. So it’s certainly a match that we’d like to continue on with, but obviously the players have choices too.”