NHL Rumors: Flames had chance at keeping Johnny Gaudreau, and will J.T. Miller stay with Canucks?

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Today’s NHL Rumors continues with the saga that has become Johnny Gaudreau’s decision to leave the Flames. By signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets for less term and money, he’s faced a ton of backlash.

Despite being clear that this was a “family decision” to move closer to home (New Jersey), Gaudreau took things a step further in a goodbye letter to Flames’ fans. The essay published in The Players’ Tribune goes into details about his reasons for leaving.

“But as much as I love hockey … family is everything to me,” he wrote. “A few years ago, I think I started to realize how much you sacrifice when you give 100% to your career. I felt like I needed to do more to center my family in my life after we experienced some hard times.”

Gaudreau was talking about his father’s heart attack in 2018, which also led to meeting his wife. That pull to be closer to them began there. However, he revealed in the letter that the Flames had a chance to re-sign him last summer.

NHL Rumors: Flames had a chance to sign Johnny Gaudreau

“And this is the truth, I promise: I cherished the time I spent in Calgary,” Gaudreau divulged. “For a long time, Meredith and I saw our future there. We wanted to re-sign last summer. We were looking at homes to start a family. But it just didn’t work out and we thought this summer might be different.”

The question now falls to GM Brad Treliving, who talked about moving “heaven and earth” to keep Gaudreau in Calgary. If there was an opportunity to extend him before the season started, why didn’t you? That’s what he will need to answer in the coming days.

Gaudreau, 28, had a career year by posting 115 points (40 G – 75A) in 82 games.

NHL Rumors: J.T. Miller and the Canucks

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Feb 12, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek (35) makes a save as Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (9) reaches for the rebound in the third period at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

While things aren’t going so great for one Canadian city, the Vancouver Canucks may have a chance at retaining last year’s leading scorer.

Miller, 29, registered 99 points in 80 games for the Canucks. He has one year left on his current deal which comes at a very affordable $5.25M cap hit. There’s been rumblings that Miller wants to test the free agent market next summer, but his agent Brian Bartlett sounded like remaining in Vancouver is on the table.

“I do think there’s a realistic path for an extension with the Canucks,” Bartlett told The Athletic (subscription required). “J.T. loves it in Vancouver… He would be on board with an extension. The part that we can’t answer is at what value or level the team places on him. From our end, from J.T’s end, there’s a path forward on an extension but it takes two to tango, I guess.”

Canucks President Jim Rutherford recently appeared on CHEK TV’s “Donnie & Dhali — The Team” show and was asked about his star forward. His sentiments also appear to keep that option open.

“I think when the impatience [for a trade] should come on J.T. Miller is when we get closer to the trade deadline,” Rutherford said. “If we don’t have him signed at that point, making sure that we get a return for him. But I don’t see where there’s any urgency until we get to the trade deadline.”

Miller is set to for a big raise. Although term may be a sticky issue, his next AAV should easily break $8 million.

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