JT Miller’s agent discusses Canucks future: ‘There is a realistic path to an extension’

Two weeks ago in Montreal, before the NHL Draft, there wasn’t much optimism about the contract extension parameters between the Vancouver Canucks and JT Miller, who is expected to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

General Manager Patrik Allvin didn’t sound optimistic about those expansion prospects when he met with the media on July 6 and Miller’s agent, Brian Bartlett, was even more direct saying he doesn’t expect any resolution during the week of the draft.

Combine that dynamic with Johnny Gaudreau’s free will decision – a US-born player turning down extra millions from his Canadian team to sign closer to home in the eastern US – and he wasn’t. hard to think of the parallels with Miller, who grew up near Pittsburgh.

Despite all of these scenarios, Miller’s camp remains optimistic about a long-term adjustment on Canada’s west coast.

“I think there’s a realistic path to an extension with the Canucks,” Bartlett said. Athleticism. “JT loves it in Vancouver. He feels the team is improving, he loved his role there, his family loves the city.

“He would be on board with an extension. The part we can’t answer is the value or level the team places on it. On our side, on JT’s side, there’s a way forward on an expansion but it takes two to tango I guess.

Bartlett also pointed out that despite all the trade rumors, Miller didn’t ask out.

The Canucks’ challenge is to come up with reasonable numbers in terms of dollars and terms that won’t compromise the club’s cap flexibility to add top-end talent around Miller and the core. Vancouver believes it made a fair offer to Miller’s camp as a result.

“Like I said before, I think JT was our best player last year and he’s a really good player in the league, a top player,” Allvin told Athleticism. “We made him an offer where we felt it was fair on our side and overall in order to be competitive and have a good team, that’s where our offer came to him. is met in Montreal too, I met his side, and we talk to each other so that’s where it’s happening.

“We still have time between now and the trade deadline to figure things out. Hopefully we keep talking positively, we’ll see where it ends up.

Obviously, the Canucks’ offer wasn’t enough or an extension would have already been made. But it’s obviously not an easy decision for Vancouver. Based on stat comparables like Mika Zibanejad and Tomas Hertl, Miller’s camp has a strong case to say he should be worth at least $8 million a year on a long-term contract. Perhaps a cheaper than expected UFA deal for Nazem Kadri, who is still unsigned, could change the dynamics of the market, but the club are still considering a massive financial investment.

Normally, it would be worth taking the risk to sign a player of Miller’s caliber in the long term, but Vancouver’s situation is complicated by two factors. For starters, management has inherited many ineffective contracts from the last regime that it has to circumvent with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Jason Dickinson, Tucker Poolman and Tyler Myers, among others. If the Canucks had a clean cap sheet, it would be easy to justify the risk of re-signing Miller, but with other overvalued deals already on the books, the club needs to be extremely calculated about any future long cap risk. term they take. on.

Second, management has been honest about their belief that the Canucks need a lot of work to become legitimate Cup contenders. It could take a few years just for the Club Cup window beginning opening, how well Miller would look in his 30s, still being paid as a frontline center. Does Miller’s age match the Canucks’ future contention timeline?

“Good question, I mean JT is such a powerful player and I imagine he still has a few good years left in his body and he’s just a natural beast,” Allvin replied. “The way he played last year indicates that there is a lot of gas left in the tank. I think he probably played a little too much last year. I think JT will be a good player for a meaningful future.

The other Vancouver option, of course, is Commercial Avenue. It appears to be a buyer’s market for top forwards this offseason, based on the disappointing return Chicago received for Alex DeBrincat as well as Vegas having to forego sweetener to offload Max Pacioretty, a points-per-game scorer from 33 Years. with only one year remaining at a very reasonable cap of $7 million. That begs the question of whether the trade offers for Miller have been sweet.

“I would say because of that nothing really happened, I would say it’s probably the market, nobody really came here,” Allvin said of Miller’s trade market. “And I think that’s where we keep talking to JT camp (about) what the fit would be.”

No one can tell if a team will eventually step up to meet Vancouver’s high asking price, but it doesn’t help to see another top forward like Matthew Tkachuk potentially available. That means the Canucks could enter training camp with no resolution in terms of a trade or overtime, which, of course, would lead to this situation with months of continued speculation. Some players might find this kind of situation untenable, but Miller’s camp has made it clear that they have no problem waiting and playing the final year of his contract without a resolution.

“I don’t think anyone likes being in the news or being on Twitter trends or stories on the radio about trades, but I think JT is used to it,” Bartlett said. “He’s probably been in this sort of wash cycle since last December and it hasn’t turned out to be a distraction. He’s had his best half of the year after being in the paper every day.

“It’s not ideal, it’s never great to be in everyone’s mouth about different things that people watch. But JT is a very strong willed guy, his family support network is amazing and that’s what you’re signing up for. You sign a multi-year contract and it ends up coming to the final year and if you’re a top player there will be speculation about what happens next and that’s okay.

The dynamics of negotiating a mid-season extension may change, however. Some players will say that if there is no agreement in place at the start of the season, they will not talk about a contract again until the end of the campaign. Miller’s camp hasn’t set a hard deadline — they’re willing to continue negotiating throughout the year — but they’ve acknowledged that mid-season extensions are harder to pull off because leverage is in the player’s favor as you get closer to free agency next summer.

“The thing is, the closer we get to next July 1, the closer JT gets to being able to hear what other options are available,” Bartlett said. “As you go, the closer you get, the more interesting this idea becomes.

“So I don’t think there’s a deadline or a hard limit, but once you get into the process of the season it’s harder to really focus on one of those things and then all of a sudden you’re playing and the year is over and you’re a month away from free agency or hopefully you can get a nice long run (playoffs) and you’re six days away from free agency and it just shows up on you.

“So I think the nature of it all is that at the beginning of the year it’s much more difficult to do extensions. That’s why most of them are done in the summer before the year. It’s more a matter of background that they are more difficult to do.

“From my point of view, at least, I don’t expect to have a difficult timeframe (for negotiations) because again, if they want to come and offer eight (years) times $15 million – using the ‘hyperbole – in the middle of the year we’ I’m not going to say no so what’s the point of setting a deadline. There’s never a (hard deadline) it’s a pressure point or a tactic negotiation and I prefer to settle the dialogue.

With leverage potentially shifting in Miller’s favor the longer it goes into the year, there’s incentive, and maybe even some pressure, for the Canucks to resolve the situation before training camp or the start. of the season.

“Well, in a perfect world, I’d love to figure it out before the season anyway,” Allvin said. “But I think it’s in a perfect world and we all know we don’t live in a perfect world when it comes to professional sports. Our hard deadline is the trading deadline at this point but hopefully that we will find a solution here.

In preaching patience, the Canucks must also weigh the influence they would have on Miller as a potential trade asset. Would its commercial value decrease at the trade deadline compared to this off-season?

” It’s difficult. Depending on the needs of other teams, and I think it’s the same now, I don’t know if anything has really changed or not since the last trade deadline and where we are now and if he’s sitting here and plays for us, I couldn’t really say,” Allvin replied.

“A lot of teams kicked the tyres, but that’s about it. I hope JT, if he starts here, I’m sure he’ll have a good season and show his last two years before here, I think he established himself as one of the best players in the league and especially after last year when he reached 99 points and ranked among the top 10 scorers.

It seems fair to say that Allvin doesn’t seem overly concerned about the potential decline in Miller’s trade value by the trade deadline. The other concern raised by fans is what will happen if the Canucks are in playoff position by the trade deadline? Would management be comfortable removing a top player from a playoff-related roster? The answer to that should be yes because it would be a disaster to risk losing Miller for nothing.

I posed this exact hypothetical scenario to Allvin. The Vancouver general manager did not commit to a firm answer but made it clear that the club’s strong preference would be to resolve the situation one way or another by then.

“Everything we do is calculated and I think it’s more about what the performance would be like, our future and the impact that would have on us right now,” Allvin said. “I guess it’s more of a hypothetical question – if we haven’t resolved it before the negotiation deadline with a contract extension, I think that’s definitely something we need to sit down as. that organization and having a conversation about what direction were going.

“I really think we’ll work this out as we go along, but I think we’re hopeful we’ll get it resolved by the trading deadline.”

(Photo: Nick Wosika/USA Today)

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