Canucks' President makes odd comment on the future of JT Miller in Vancouver

June 10, 2022  (9:13)

On Wednesday, Canucks' Team President Jim Rutherford offered an update on the status of contract negotiations between the team and their star forward, JT Miller. In his media availability, Rutherford explained the difficulty of signing Miller, hinting the two sides are far apart in salary demands.

The thing that I can say is we would like to re-sign J.T, but we also understand we're dealing with an unrestricted free agent (in 2023) that's a really good player. How far can we go when we've got other areas that we've got to take care of? At some point in time, both sides will have the opportunity to make that decision. But I believe it's mutual, based on everything I've been told, that he wants to return and we would like to sign him to another contract. We will have a better understanding of that in the next month or so.

In his statement, Rutherford reiterates a mutual desire between the team and Miller to strike a deal, but seems to be hinting that the two sides are far apart in what they're willing to accept in salary. Rutherford, as the team's new GM, has needed to work out of the salary cap mess left behind by Jim Benning, and seems to be hinting towards a reluctance to commit big money and term to an aging star.
Perhaps Rutherford would welcome Miller back at a lower term or dollar amount, but Miller likely doesn't fit the window of contention that will arise with the Canucks' young players. That's why trade rumours ran rampant last year, and are still plausible as long as Miller isn't signed.
Putting up 32 goals and 99 points in 80 games this season, Miller is due for a raise on his current $5.25M salary. It's been previously reported by Elliotte Friedman that Miller is seeking $8.5M in his annual contract.
If the Canucks' are able to sign Miller, it seems like it will have to a deal that doesn't hurt the salary cap of the Canucks moving forward, when having to sign their younger core players to longer deals. If there's truly a mutual desire to keep Miller in Vancouver, it's possible he takes a hometown discount. However, as a 30 year old UFA, it's also Miller's last chance to secure a significant payday in the NHL.
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