Canucks News & Rumors: Rutherford, Boeser, Miller & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks‘ News & Rumors, president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford discussed the team’s offseason plans. Additionally, Rutherford discussed the ongoing negotiations with pending restricted free agent (RFA) Brock Boeser, while there are more rumors on J.T. Miller’s future in Vancouver. 

Rutherford on Canucks Offseason

Rutherford joined The DFO Rundown this past week to discuss the Canucks’ offseason plans. He stated the first step the club needs to take this offseason is to free up cap space in order to pick up players from other teams.

“There’s teams that are gonna have to get rid of players just to be cap compliant, and we would like to be in a position where at least in that conversation with those teams, that we can make a deal.”

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The president of hockey operations noted the team has to get younger by adding players who are 26 years old or younger and create prospect depth as young centres and right-shot defencemen are needed. He believes the team needs sandpaper throughout the lineup, and Rick Dhaliwal suggests the team could add Ilya Mikheyev and Andrew Copp through free agency. Rutherford also said the team needs more balance and depth at forward and on defence, so minutes are distributed evenly throughout the lineup.

Boeser Negotiations

Rutherford discussed negotiations with Boeser as well. The two sides re-engaged in contract extension talks this week, and Rutherford added that they will continue to work away at getting a deal done. Boeser is an RFA and has a qualifying offer of $7.5 million.

Related: Canucks’ Potential Trade Partners for Ekman-Larsson

“It’s not like we’re squeezed that we can’t fit this $7.5 million in on a one-year deal,” Rutherford said. “From our point of view, he’s still team control following that, so we’re we’re pretty open to anything at this point.”

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He said at 25 years old, Boeser is still young enough to get a long-term deal after his next contract. The forward could sign a two to three-year deal now and sign a long-term deal later. Boeser could follow teammate Elias Pettersson’s contract, as the centre signed a three-year deal last summer and will get a long-term deal once it is up.

Miller Update

Miller’s future with the Canucks is in question as the forward is slated to be an unrestricted free agent after the 2022-23 season. Rutherford said the final decision on the forward doesn’t have to be made until the trade deadline, but the team will know more about him, Boeser and Horvat this summer. However, since the Canucks have to clear cap space, Miller is at the top of the list of the players the organization could trade to create space, according to John Shannon. 

J.T. Miller Vancouver Canucks
J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

TSN’s Darren Dreger also commented on a potential trade situation, listing the Minessota Wild as a potential trade partner. The Wild need to add a player with good value next season, and Miller has exactly that. The organization has $12.744 million in dead cap hit next season and $14.744 million the following two seasons, so they will have to take a season-by-season approach. Miller’s $5.250 million cap hit would be perfect for the team, along with his ability to produce at a point-per-game pace.

McDonough Plans to Sign with Vancouver

Canucks’ top prospect Aidan McDonough plans on signing with the organization at the end of his NCAA season, according to CanucksArmy’s Chris Faber. McDonough will captain Northeastern in his final NCAA season. He is one of the Canucks top prospects as he posted 25 goals and 39 points in 38 games this season. The organization drafted him with the 195th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Draft.

McDonough praised Canucks’ director of player development, Ryan Johnson, as he helped the prospect make a decision on his future. Additionally, he plans on attending the Canucks’ development camp in mid-July at UBC. McDonough stating he will join the Canucks after his time in the NCAA is up is good news for the club as their prospect pool isn’t very deep, and the club is in need of prospects.