After months of trade speculation and contract negotiations, the J.T. Miller saga finally has a conclusion as the Vancouver Canucks re-signed the 29-year-old versatile forward to a 7-year contract extension worth $56 million Friday afternoon. This comes after reports that his agent was going to put a deadline on future talks, which may have accelerated the process. The deal will start in 2023-24 as he still has one more season left at $5.25 million.
Miller is going into his fourth season with the Canucks after he was acquired by then-general manager Jim Benning from the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2019 for a first (Shakir Mukhamadullin) and a third-round pick (Hugo Alnefelt) and Marek Mazanec. Since then, all he has done is score goals and accumulate points recording 74 goals and 217 points in 202 games. That included a career-high 99 points in 2021-22 on the strength of 32 goals and 67 assists. He also led all forwards in hits with 172 and was second only to Bo Horvat in faceoff percentage (54.1 percent).
While the contract holds some inherent risk with it being the full seven years, the hope will be that Miller won’t slow down as he gets past 35 years old. By the time the deal ends in 2029-30, he will be approaching 37, which is usually when veterans stop living up to a contract worth $8 million AAV. Fortunately for the Canucks and general manager Patrik Allvin, the salary cap is projected to steadily rise in the coming years, which will make it easier to live with that type of deal in the future.
Miller has been an integral part of the Canucks offence ever since he joined the team, so it was essential that the Canucks either re-sign him or trade him for a major package of assets. Turns out it’s the former and fans will be seeing his passionate and potent offensive self for hopefully the next eight years (or at the very least the next five).
What Does This Mean for Bo Horvat?
Now Allvin and his staff will turn to captain Bo Horvat and try to bang out a similar deal with him. The 27-year-old pivot is entering the final year of his contract and will be looking for a raise on the team-friendly $5.5 million AAV he will be receiving in 2022-23. With a career-high 31 goals last season, he is definitely worth at least $7 million AAV with the same term. He is also integral to the team’s power play and penalty kill and is the primary matchup center on most nights. Not to mention he takes the majority of the draws and wins most of them, leading all pivots with a 57 percent success rate.
Long story short, the work is far from over for the Canucks’ front office. Regardless, Allvin checked a huge box off his to-do list today and fans should be happy that they will have Miller – who will likely hit 80 or more points again this season – headlining a deep offensive group that added Ilya Mikheyev and Andrei Kuzmenko to the mix earlier in the offseason. If Allvin can get Horvat signed to a reasonable deal as well, the Canucks will have their core forwards locked up until at least 2023-24. Hopefully, for the fans’ sake, they can make some hay in the win column in that time and have a few playoff appearances before Canucks Nation has to suffer through yet another contract negotiation with Elias Pettersson.
Matthew Zator is the assistant managing editor at THW and a writer who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.