The Vancouver Canucks are a team to watch this summer. It has been established that they are looking to clear up some cap space. The Boston Bruins should take advantage of this, as the Canucks have multiple players who would be excellent additions to their lineup. Let’s now take a gander at three of them who stand out the most.
The Canucks have a big decision to make this offseason when it comes to J.T. Miller. Fresh off of a 99-point campaign, the 29-year-old is about to enter the final season of his contract. Once it expires, he will have the opportunity to be an unrestricted free agent (UFA). With the Canucks looking to free up salary, they could elect to move the Ohio native while his trade value is at its highest. If made available, the Bruins would need to immediately enter the sweepstakes.
Ever since David Krejci left to go back home to the Czech Republic, the Bruins have needed to improve at the center position. Yet, things could now get even worse down the middle for them, as there’s a real chance that Patrice Bergeron announces his retirement this offseason. Even if the captain decides to stay put, Miller should be a primary target for the Bruins this summer. He would provide them with another legitimate top-six center, while also being a big contributor to their power play and penalty kill. With that, his ability to play all three positions would certainly come in handy.
Although acquiring Miller would be fantastic, it would cost the Bruins a lot. At a minimum, they would need to part ways with their 2023 first-round pick, a top prospect, and a young roster player. The Canucks have been previously linked to Fabian Lysell, but it’s hard to determine if the Bruins would be willing to give him up in any deal. Other potential fits include Mason Lohrei, Jack Studnicka, and Johnny Beecher. As for a young roster player, perhaps Trent Frederic would be somebody who the team is willing to trade.
Brock Boeser is another Canuck who could be on the move this offseason. Like Miller, Boeser’s name has come up in the rumor mill for quite some time. Now that he is a restricted free agent (RFA), that could lead the Canucks to be more open to the idea of moving him. A major reason why the team might end up having no choice is that he has a $7.5 million qualifying offer. Thus, this is an opportunity that the Bruins should consider jumping on.
Although everybody is well aware of the Bruins’ weak center depth, one could argue that they aren’t particularly strong at right wing, either. Jake DeBrusk did an excellent job on his off-wing while on the first line, but with his trade request still on the table, there’s a good chance that he has played his last game in Boston. Craig Smith also showed this season that he doesn’t fit well in the top six. Thus, with all of this, Boeser could be a realistic target for the Bruins to consider.
Speaking of DeBrusk, perhaps he could be the starting point in a potential swap. His $4 million salary would be a lot easier for the Canucks to afford, and it would finally give him a fresh start. However, the Bruins would also need to add in a second-round pick and mid-tier prospect at a minimum to successfully land Boeser.
Conor Garland was acquired by the Canucks last summer, but he already has found himself in the rumor mill since. The 26-year-old winger carries a $4.95 million cap hit until the completion of the 2025-26 season, so he would be a long-term investment if acquired. The Bruins previously expressed interest in the hometown kid, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them do it again.
Garland’s first season with the Canucks was a very solid one. In 77 games, he had 19 goals, 33 assists, and a plus-18 rating. With these kinds of numbers, he would be a welcomed addition to the Bruins’ top six and power play if acquired. The Scituate native has also developed a reputation for his scrappy style of play and a high degree of effort. This naturally would be appreciated by Bruins fans, too.
The Bruins could also use DeBrusk to successfully land Garland. In terms of skill level, they aren’t necessarily too far apart from one another. In 77 games this season with the Bruins, DeBrusk scored 25 goals and recorded 17 assists. Due to his trade request being made public, the team would maybe need to add a mid-round draft pick or prospect to get a deal done. However, if it leads to acquiring Garland, it would be worth it.
Nevertheless, it will be very interesting to see if these two teams can agree to a trade this offseason. Out of the bunch, Miller would be the biggest splash, but there’s no question that both Boeser and Garland would also be significant additions as well. Alas, we will have to wait and see if the 2011 Stanley Cup Final opponents make a big trade this summer too, which could throw a wrench into things.
Michael DeRosa is a contributor who covers the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks for The Hockey Writers. Since 2017, he’s written and edited for numerous websites. Besides his work for THW, you can also find him on NHLTradeRumors.me, BBallRumors.com, BaseballRumors.me, FootballRumors.me and The Rat Trick.