NHL Rumors: J.T. Miller trade talk, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine contracts

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Everyone scouring NHL Rumors for information when the Vancouver Canucks will be trading J.T. Miller are about to be disappointed.

Canucks President Jim Rutherford recently appeared on CHEK TV’s “Donnie & Dhali — The Team” show and was asked about his star forward.

“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.”

NHL Rumors: J.T. Miller

Miller, 29, was the Canucks leading scorer with 99 points in 80 games last season. He has one year left on his current deal which comes at a very affordable $5.25M cap hit that teams are interested in.

Vancouver was believed to be seeking three to four pieces in return that would need to include at least one top prospect and a first-round pick. Reporting on the matter has the Canucks trying to trade him since last February with little traction.

Of course, that doesn’t mean it can’t change in an instant. There are a few teams that have some cap space to accommodate a Miller trade. The New York Islanders were reportedly interested and may have been close to a deal that supposedly fell apart on the draft floor. Another could be the new Jersey Devils, who were spurned by Johnny Gaudreau in free agency.

However, at this time it appears the Canucks will bide their time and wait until the trade deadline to get max return for Miller as a rental.

NHL Rumors: Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine

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Mar 25, 2022; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine (29) skates away from Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) during the first period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, 24 restricted free agents filed for salary arbitration that includes the likes of Calgary Flames star Andrew Mangiapane and Jesper Bratt of the New Jersey Devils.

Noticeably missing were two of the biggest restricted free agents on the market in Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine.

Note: The Flames Mattew Tkachuk also opted not to file, but with Johnny Gaudreau now in Columbus a lucrative deal is not an issue. Will he sign long-term is the real question.

Laine, 24, experienced difficulty adjusting after a trade with Jack Roslovic from the Jets for Dubois back in 2020-21. He had a bounce back season with the Jackets by scoring 26 goals and 56 points in 56 games. The big winger is reportedly happy in Columbus and could be nearing a deal, which may be the reason why he did not opt to file for salary arbitration.

“It’s a work in progress. I’m not worried about it at all,” Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said. “Qualifying offer is on the table, but that’s just a formality. They want a long-term contract, we want a long-term contract. Now we just have to agree on it.”

As for Dubois, we noted yesterday that he may very well be trying to orchestrate a move to the Montreal Canadiens.

The wheels were officially set in motion when Dubois told the Winnipeg Jets he will be testing the market in 2024. That means he is unlikely to sign for anything more than two years on his next contract.

By not filing for arbitration, he keeps the option open for a team to offer-sheet him. If he’s hoping that to be the Montreal Canadiens, he shouldn’t hold his breath. Per CapFriendly, the Habs only have $1.2 in cap space. They would need to move out a significant amount in salary (upwards of $8 million) to sign Dubois.

Still, stranger things have happened and reports surfaced that Dubois showed up at this past draft in Montreal believing a trade to the Habs was close.