Canucks News & Rumors: Miller, Bear, Demko & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, teams have shown interest in J.T. Miller. Additionally, the Canucks and Ethan Bear are in talks for a contract extension. Also, the organization provides an injury update on Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Thatcher Demko.

Teams Calling on Miller

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said teams have called the Canucks on Miller during Hockey Night in Canada’s 32 Thoughts segment. Miller is in the final year of his five-year deal with an average annual value of $5.250 million. He will start his seven-year, $56 million contract next season with a no-move clause in the first four seasons and a modified no-trade clause and no-move clause in the fifth year.

J.T. Miller Vancouver Canucks
J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

“There’s been a lot of talk about his situation,” Friedman said. “I don’t know where this is gonna go, and there’s a chance it might not go anywhere, but I do think teams have called the Canucks and just said, ‘if we wanted to do this, what would you think about here?’”

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If the Canucks can offload Miller and his contract, that would be a big win for the front office. Miller posted a career-high 99 points in 80 games but will turn 30 next month, and his stats aren’t as impressive as last season. He’s scored 19 goals and posted 51 points in 56 games this season. If he is regressing, the Canucks would be wise to ship him off when they get a chance.

Ethan Bear Contract Extension

Rick Dhaliwal provided an update on Bear’s contract extension on Sekeres and Price. He reported the two sides are talking but are not close. Bear is set to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and is in the final year of his deal with $2.2 million. Dhaliwal said his new contract should be from one to three years. Bear’s agent Jason Davidson will try to buy a few unrestricted free-agent years for the blueliner.

Related: Canucks Should Shut Down Demko for the Rest of the Season

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The Canucks traded a fifth-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for the defenceman and Lane Pederson in October. Bear has played well in the team’s top-four pairing, and since the Canucks are looking to retool their roster with players in their 20s, he’s a defenceman they’d like to keep.

Ekman-Larsson, Demko Injury Update

Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet told the media on Saturday Ekman-Larsson will miss a few weeks with an ankle sprain. The defenceman left the club’s game against the New York Rangers on Wednesday. Ekman-Larsson joins a list of injured players for the club. Among those players is goaltender Demko.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson Vancouver Canucks
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Demko was set to return as a backup for the Canucks in their game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday but suffered a setback in practice on Thursday. The netminder has missed action after suffering a groin injury early in December. However, Tocchet said Demko will join the team on their upcoming road trip to Nashville and St. Louis. Although he may be able to play, the Canucks would be wise to hold off on overplaying Demko and avoiding another injury to their starting goaltender in a season where they are not playoff bound. Instead, they should ride either Colin Delia or 21-year-old Arturs Silovs.

Curtis Lazar also joins the group of injured players as he is day to day with a lower-body injury. Tucker Poolman, Travis Dermott, Ilya Mikheyev, and Tanner Pearson are the other injured players on the team. 

Pettersson Sets Career High

In the Canucks 6-2 win over the Flyers on Saturday, Elias Pettersson posted five points. He scored two goals and added three assists in the win. As a result, the 24-year-old set a career-high in points with 71 in 54 games. He surpassed the career high he set last season when he scored 32 goals and 71 points in 80 games. Pettersson is on pace to score 40 goals and 105 points in 80 games.

Pettersson is the player many expected him to be. Most saw him as a special talent, but after a tough season and a half, there was some doubt. However, Pettersson is on his way to surpassing the 40-goal mark and the 100-point milestone this season. If he posts 100 points, he’d be the sixth Canuck to do so in franchise history.

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