Canucks News & Rumors: Miller, Lazar, Kuzmenko & More

In the edition of the Vancouver Canucks News & Rumors, J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser have a strong trade market as the 2022 NHL Draft nears. Addtionally, the Washington Capitals have an interest in Miller as well. Furthermore, unrestricted free agent (UFA) Curtis Lazar comments on the potential of becoming a Canuck, while a Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) executive comments on Andrei Kuzmenko’s potential.

Strong Market for Miller & Boeser

TSN’s Darren Dreger said there is strong interest around the league in Miller and Boeser. 

“It seems like it’s open season for the Vancouver Canucks. It’s not a fire sale, so don’t misunderstand that, but we’re talking about JT Miller and we’re talking about Brock Boeser… There is strong market interest in both those players.” 

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

Dreger added the Canucks are interested in listening, but they aren’t just in the market for draft picks. The team needs good young NHL players in return for Miller and Boeser. Both forwards have been involved in trade rumors since mid-way through the regular season. With the season over, more teams are likely interested in attempting to trade for either forward, which is good for the Canucks as they have a better chance of getting the young players they want in return. 

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President of hockey operations Jim Rutherford has discussed contract negotiations with both players. With Miller, the club is looking for a contract that works in the long term, but if the numbers don’t make sense, the organization will make a non-emotional decision on him. As for Boeser, the Canucks are going to qualify him as they can find a way to fit his $7.5 million qualifying offer into their cap next season.

Capitals and Penguins Could Be Interested in Miller

Adding to Miller rumors, the Capitals have emerged as a team connected to the forward. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman told Donnie & Dhali he has heard the Capitals have an interest in adding a centre after losing Nicklas Backstrom to hip surgery. Friedman has also heard the club is interested in UFA Nazem Kadri along with Miller.

Related: Canucks Have Options for Right-Shot Centers in Free Agency

VancouverHockeyNow’s Rob Simpson suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins could also be in on Miller. With uncertainty surrounding Evgeni Malkin and his return, the club could attempt at adding Miller. The Canucks have had an interest in Penguins defenceman John Marino, who could be a player offered in return.

Lazar on Joining Canucks

Rick Dhaliwal noted Lazar as one of the free agents the Canucks could be interested in. He asked the B.C. native if he would like to sign in Vancouver.

“That would be pretty cool, I am a BC boy,” Lazar said. “I had Canucks colours in my room. Being a Canuck would be special, but I am still property of the Bruins. I leave that to my agents.”

Curtis Lazar Boston Bruins
Curtis Lazar, Boston Bruins (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lazar is a right-handed centre who plays a defensive game and would be useful on the forecheck. He would be a bottom-six centre and would help on the penalty kill as well. 

Bear as a Potential Free Agent Target

Restricted free agent Ethan Bear received permission from the Carolina Hurricanes to talk to other teams. The Canucks could be interested in adding him since he is a right-handed defenceman. He will turn 25 years old and could be a player worth taking a shot at. However, as TSN’s Craig Button points out, the Canucks already have a lot of bottom-pairing right-handed defencemen in Luke Schenn, Tucker Poolman and Kyle Burroughs. Therefore, if the club views Bear in the same light, it would be best to avoid signing him. 

Kuzmenko’s Potential

The Canucks made a major splash by signing Kuzmenko this past week. The forward will likely play a top-six role and receive minutes on the power play. The Athletic’s Harman Dayal talked to a Kontinental Hockey League executive about Kuzmenko’s potential.

“I think he’s a 50-to-60-points-per-season player if he’s trusted and played with good linemates. He will freak out a lot of NHL defensemen with the crazy number of cutbacks he does every game.” 

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Kuzmenko will likely be most effective playing alongside Elias Pettersson next season. His playmaking abilities could also benefit Pettersson’s game, leading to more goals from the Swedish centre. 

Young Stars Schedule Revealed

The Canucks announced details for the 2022 Young Stars Classic. The tournament is set to return after four years, from September 16 to the 19th in Penticton, B.C. It will be the ninth time the Young Stars Classic takes place, with the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets taking part in the round-robin tournament. The Canucks also released a complete schedule and announced community activities during the weekend.

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