Canucks have multiple options as trade partners for J.T. Miller

Vancouver Canucks are poised to make a big move. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte FriedmanAll options are open at the moment. It’s not clear what that means at this point, but what is clear is something is happening.

These moral victories have been lost. The tension is really high…The one thing I was talking about with someone there on the weekend is you can really feel it in the organization. You know, sometimes your organization is really tense because of everything you’re going through. It’s like that with the Canucks right now. Everybody’s looking around at everybody else saying, ‘okay, we’re waiting for something to happen.’ Is it going to be an executive? What will it be? A coach, or a player? Who’s it going to be?

Elliotte Friedman on ’32 Thoughts: The Podcast’

Friedman noted that tensions in the organization are very high right now. This usually means that change is imminent. Most people believe it will end up being Jim Benning (general manager) or Travis Green (head coach), but it could also happen in the form trading a core player such as J.T. Miller.

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Writers

The Canucks are in a downwards spiral at the quarter-mark in the 2021-22 season. Teams can smell blood in their water. All of us know the facts. Minnesota Wild’s interest in Miller, so let’s take a look at a few other teams that could be sniffing around should the Canucks decide to move him instead of firing the GM or head coach.

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are a team on the rise with a bunch of young talent in Alexis Lafrenière, Kaapo Kakko and reigning Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox. What they don’t have is elite center depth. While Ryan Strome may have shown glimpses of being a top six center, Mika Zibanejad remains the only one who is a proven player in their lineup. Miller could be a reliable, versatile presence that can help them rise to the top. They have the cap space to absorb his contract for the next two seasons and he’s familiar with the city having been drafted and developed by them for the first six years of his NHL career.

Related: Canucks’ News & Rumors: Miller, Boeser, Podkolzin & More

For a return, the Canucks need to ask for a package centered around Braden Schneider (20 years old) He was selected by the Rangers 19th in the 2020 Draft. This is exactly what they need for a solid foundation. Quinn Hughes could find the perfect partner in him. He’s mobile, physical and has a very polished two-way game for his age.

Braden Schneider, New York Rangers
Braden Schneider, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers

He played five seasons with the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL), before he became a professional with the Hartford Wolfpack of the American Hockey League. There he scored 21 goals and 115 points over 207 games. He was also the former Wheat Kings captain and the WHL Defenceman-of-the Year.

Columbus Blue Jackets

The Columbus Blue Jackets are another team that is looking for center depth. After Pierre-Luc Dubois is being tradedThey were terrible down the middle in NHL talent last season. While Kent Johnson and Cole Sillinger are solid building blocks, they will need more than Alex Texier or Sillinger to be able to contend for a playoff spot. The playoffs are no longer a distant dream for Columbus thanks to Brad Larsen’s inspired hockey. Miller could help make this dream a reality by being added to the lineup, which boasts a remarkable record of 10-6-0.

The Blue Jackets are an exciting young team that has many intriguing prospects. It probably won’t happen considering he was just acquired, but I would be targeting Adam Boqvist before anyone else. Like Hughes, he’s a dynamic skater with great offensive instincts who thrives because of his hockey IQ. He has an underrated two-way ability, though it’s not the first thing you think of when talking about his game.

Adam Boqvist Chicago Blackhawks
Adam Boqvist (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images).

They could also consider Kent Johnson, a Vancouver-native (which would likely require more from Canucks though), Liam Foudy or Corson Ceulemans. In any Miller trade, they should also consider first-round picks.

New Jersey Devils

Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier are the New Jersey Devils’ young center core. Miller would likely play the mentor role and switch between center and wing if they acquired him, just as he did with the Canucks. He is familiar with the young stars Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat and so would be a good fit for Hughes and Hischier.

Related: 5 Trades the Canucks Should Make This Season

The Devils have young talent just like the Blue Jackets. The Canucks could request Kevin Bahl (6’6″) as a replacement. He’s not a right shot, but he’s got all the tools to be an effective partner for Hughes if he’s able to play on his off-side. Unlike Schneider and Boqvist, he’s more a defensive defenceman in the vein of Chris Tanev. He plays a calm, no-nonsense defensive style and, like Tyler Myers has a tremendous reach, which he uses to his advantage when defending forwards 1-on-1.

Kevin Bahl New Jersey Devils
Kevin Bahl, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers

If the Devils don’t want to part with Bahl, the Canucks could also look to Michael McLeod, who would fit the mould of a right-shot third-line center that can win faceoffs and kill penalties. He is 59.8 percent in the faceoff circle and he’s one of the Devils’ top penalty killers with an average of 2:22 shorthanded this season. He has a speedy game and is a good two-way player, which could make him ideally suited for the Canucks’ future behind Horvat and Pettersson.

If Miller isn’t interested, a trade will happen eventually

Changes are coming to the Canucks’ roster, even if Benning and/or Green are shown the door. Things happen usually when there are new regimes in place. Although it seems unlikely that Benning will remain in power, I feel there is a trade coming soon. When there’s smoke, there’s fire and there has been a lot of smoke lately coming from the direction of the West Coast in recent days.

Related: Canucks’ Slump Puts Season In Jeopardy

Miller trade rumours are not the only thing. Brock Boeser’s name has come upHe will also be back. He’s no stranger to this as he has had to field questions about his exit from Vancouver as As recently as the past offseason. The Canucks may trade him this season, as he has one season remaining on his contract. He is also in line for a big raise this offseason. There is no doubt that Miller, Boeser, or another player will be traded. The trade winds are stronger when the losing continues.