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Saturday, May 28, 2022

NHL rumors: Bruins among teams linked to J.T. Miller before trade deadline

The NHL trade deadline isn’t until March 21, but that hasn’t prevented the rumor mill from picking up steam over the last few weeks.

One player to watch as the deadline nears is Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller.

Miller is having an excellent season with 39 points (12 goals, 27 assists) in 39 games. He’s on pace to surpass his career high of 72 points set during the 2019-20 season.

Why would the Canucks trade him? Well, Vancouver is four points behind the Calgary Flames for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, but the Canucks also have played four more games. If the Canucks fall further in the race, maybe they join the list of sellers.

Miller is signed through next season with a reasonable $5.25 million salary cap hit. If the Canucks can get a huge haul for Miller at this year’s trade deadline, they should at least seriously consider making a deal.

What would the asking price be, and which teams are interested in acquiring Miller?

Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff did a radio interview on Sportsnet 650 this week and listed the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild and Flames as teams that have been interested in Miller.

In regards to the price, Seravalli noted, “I think it could end up being a little more than a (first-round pick) and a highly touted prospect.” 

 

That’s a steep price, though it makes sense because Miller is only 28 years old, he’s a gifted offensive player and he’s not a rental. 

Should the Bruins pay this price? The short answer is yes. 

One of the Bruins’ biggest needs before the trade deadline is a legit No. 2 center. Erik Haula has played very well in this role since Jan. 1 on the new-look second line alongside Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak. That said, it’s hard to envision the B’s making a real run at the Stanley Cup if Haula is their second-line center. It’s not an ideal lineup. Miller as the No. 2 center, Charlie Coyle as the No. 3 center and Haula as a bottom-six winger would be a pretty solid group.

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Fabian Lysell should be off limits. He’s the only Bruins prospect with real top-six forward potential. But the Bruins shouldn’t be afraid to dangle any of their other prospects if they can address a glaring need at center on the second line.

Trading a first-rounder could be tough for the Bruins given their lackluster prospect pool, plus the fact they dealt their first-round picks in 2018 and 2020. But the B’s are in win-now mode. Who knows if Patrice Bergeron will be back next season. Brad Marchand is 33 years old.

The time to be aggressive is right now. This season might be this core’s last good chance at a championship. If a player of Miller’s caliber is available and the price isn’t crazy, it’s a move the Bruins should strongly consider.

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