Canucks News & Rumors: Miller, Horvat, Karlsson & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, details of a regular-season trade offer for J.T. Miller from the New York Rangers are revealed. Also, the team’s president of hockey operations, Jim Rutherford, comments on Miller and captain Bo Horvat’s next contracts. Additionally, the Canucks sign prospect Linus Karlsson to an entry-level deal.

Proposed Miller to Rangers Trade Details Revealed

With Miller slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2022-23 season, the forward has been involved in trade rumors for some time. One of the teams rumored to be in talks to acquire the forward were the Rangers, the organization that selected him in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft.

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

Sportsnet’s Satiar Shah revealed the Rangers were offering Nils Lundkvist, a first-round pick and Filip Chytil for Miller. He adds there was some talk about Vitali Kravtsov in the deal, but it is certain defenceman Braden Schneider was not involved in the talks. 

Lundkvist is a right-shot defenceman standing at 5-foot-11, 187 pounds. He spent last season between the NHL and American Hockey League (AHL), scoring a goal and posting four points in 25 games with the Rangers while scoring three goals and 15 points in the AHL with the Hartford Wolf Pack. Chytil is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound centre who is in his fifth NHL season. He scored eight goals and posted 22 points in 67 games this past season. Kravtsov is a 6-foot-3, 193-pound right-winger, who scored two goals and posted four points in 20 games in the NHL during the 2020-21 season and spent last season playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). He played 19 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor, scoring six goals and posting 13 points in 19 games.

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CanucksArmy notes an anonymous league executive not affiliated with the organization believes a fair return for the Canucks would include a potential top-pairing defenceman and a second-round pick along with Chytil and a first. The executive mentions Schneider as the defenceman the Rangers would need to add. Schneider is playing on the Rangers’ third pairing and could be a great fit as a d-partner for Quinn Hughes. He stands at 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, and at 20 years old, has shown the potential of being a top-4 defenceman in the NHL. 

Rutherford on Re-signing Horvat and Miller

Despite the trade rumors, Rutherford said the goal is to re-sign Miller when he joined Donnie and Dhali on Friday. He added Miller has a lot of good hockey left, but the team is in a tough space cap-wise, and they have to work on that first. However, the club has a projected cap hit number for Miller. As for Horvat, Rutherford believes the captain should be a part of the team going forward as the two sides have had good discussions since the season ended. The difference in the way the president spoke on the two forwards somewhat tells how likely the two are to return. Rutherford makes it seem like a Miller deal will be tough, which it likely will be due to what could be a high cap hit number, while Horvat may take a pay cut. 

Karlsson Signs, Kuzmenko Decision to Come Mid-June

Along with clearing cap space, the Canucks are also looking to add young players to their roster. They signed Linus Karlsson to an entry-level contract on Thursday. He is a 6-foot-1, 178-pound forward, who will likely play for the Abbotsford Canucks next season. 

“We are excited to officially welcome Linus to Vancouver,” said general manager Patrik Allvin. “He is a good goal scorer who plays a solid two-way game, and he is coming off an impressive rookie season in Sweden. We look forward to seeing him develop his game in North America.”

Karlsson was selected in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft by the San Jose Sharks before he was traded to the Canucks for Jonathan Dahlen in 2019. He was named rookie of the year in the Swedish Hockey League, where he was third in goals with 26 and ninth in points with 46 in 52 games with Sfelleftea AIK.

Related: Canucks Need to Trade Either Ekman-Larsson or Myers This Offseason

The Canucks are interested in landing Andrei Kuzmenko, a young skilled player who has a mutual interest in the club. The skilled forward from the KHL will make a decision in mid-June, as reported by Rick Dhaliwal. The Canucks made Kuzmenko’s shortlist of teams earlier this month.

Canucks Make Changes to Coaching Staff

The Canucks announced they made changes behind the bench on Sunday. Assistant coaches Brad Shaw and Jason King will return, while Scott Walker, Kyle Gustafson, and video coach Darryl Seward will not.

“We would like to thank Scott, Kyle, and Darryl for their hard work and contributions to the organization during their Canucks tenures,” said Allvin. “We are pleased with our current coaching staff and look forward to expanding on the momentum they built last year.”

The team confirmed head coach Bruce Boudreau will return for the 2022-23 season this month as well. The coaching staff helped turn the team’s season around after a rough start, allowing the group to play meaningful games late in the season.

Mattias Ohlund Inducted Into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

Former Canucks defenceman Matthias Ohlund will be inducted into the B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame on July 22nd (from ‘Key Canucks mentor Mattias Ohlund an influential figure, recognized by B.C. Hockey Hall of Fame,’ The Province, May 25, 2022). Ohlund will join former NHL defenceman Eric Brewer, NHL official Jay Sahrries and late junior hockey builder Ray Stonehouse, a 2012 national junior A hockey champion with the Penticton Vees. 2002 Memorial Cup champion with the Kootney Ice in the 2020 class, which was postponed due to COVID-19. 

“Great guy, Ollie, absolutely my favourite Canucks D-man,” former Canucks head coach Marc Crawford said. “He battled with the best of them and was absolutely a favourite teammate of so many. We became a team when he recovered from his eye injury.

Ohlund spent 11 seasons with the Canucks and posted 325 points in 770 games. He was inducted into the Canucks’ Ring of Honour in December 2016.