NHL Rumors: Canucks, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Canadiens

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the talk is picking up around J.T. Miller of the Vancouver Canucks. Is he going to be traded? Meanwhile, the Toronto Maple Leafs have some work to do with their restricted free agents and the Edmonton Oilers need to narrow in on their possible future starting goaltender.

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Finally, who will the Montreal Canadiens draft with the top draft pick? The decision has gotten more difficult with a different player now ranking in the top spot.

Canucks Taking Offers on Miller

As per multiple insiders, including Luke Fox of Sportsnet, the J.T. Miller trade talk is ramping up. Fox says it is being reported that the Vancouver Canucks are listening to offers and that teams are calling with interest in trading for the forward. He has a year left at $5.25 million but will likely sign an extension with a team at a high ticket price if traded.

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

The Canucks are looking to get back young talent in the deal and are hoping to get an offer that they really can’t say no to. From the sounds of things, the Canucks’ camp and Miller’s camp aren’t close in terms of an extension and that’s why the trade discussion has picked up. Jim Rutherford did say in previous interviews that they wanted to have the Miller contract situation sorted before this year’s NHL draft, which is in just over one week.

Related: 3 Maple Leafs Free Agents the Oilers Should Target

Fox wonders if the Maple Leafs will be aggressive and take a run at Miller. Among the young players the team could trade are defensemen Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren (who just signed an extension), and forward Nick Robertson.

In other Canucks news, as per Lachlan Irvine of Canucks Army: CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reported the Canucks have had early discussions with defenseman Ethan Bear. The restricted free agent defenseman was given permission by the Carolina Hurricanes to speak with other clubs.

What’s Next for Maple Leafs?

Even if the Leafs don’t go after someone like Miller, they will need to decide what to do with a player like Justin Holl, writes Terry Koshan of The Toronto Sun. GM Kyle Dubas also needs to negotiate new deals with RFA free agents Rasmus Sandin, Pierre Engvall and Ondrej Kase.

Justin Holl Toronto Maple Leafs
Justin Holl, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Koshan writes:

As it pertains to the defence corps, we’re curious to see whether the Liljegren signing will have an impact this summer on Holl’s future with the Leafs. While the remaining year on Holl’s contract is rather affordable with an AAV of $2 million, signing Sandin is critical. And though Ilya Lyubushkin provided a needed physical presence after he was acquired from Arizona, it’s probable that the right-shooting defenceman will go to the open market. 

source – ‘Two-year contract in his pocket, Liljegren looks to improve physical side of his game with the Maple Leafs’ – Terry Koshan – Toronto Sun – 06/27/2022

Which Goalies Will Oilers Target?

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector writes that he thinks Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland will target one of Ville Husso or Jack Campbell in this summer’s free-agent market. Saying Marc-Andre Fleury has already ruled out the Oilers as an option, Spector believes Holland will choose a cheaper, less proven goalie, which in some ways describes both Husso and Campbell.

When asked which players the Oilers would have to cut to fit a goaltender in, Spector responded, Zack Kassian ($3.2 million), Warren Foegele ($2.75 million) and Tyson Barrie ($4.5 million). He said Jesse Puljujarvi might be in that conversation based on what he’s asking for or an extension might come in at with the team.

Slafkovsky Jumps to No. 1 in NHL Draft Rankings

While Bob McKenzie’s list doesn’t represent every NHL team’s thinking, it’s a pretty good standard of where NHL clubs have certain players ranked in the NHL Entry Draft. With that in mind, there’s a new number one on Bob McKenzie’s 2022 NHL Draft Rankings for TSN

Juraj Slafkovsky has overtaken Shane Wright for the top spot after polling active scouts have suggested he’s got the better ceiling as an NHL player. Slafkovsky is a skilled, 6’4″ winger who won tournament MVP at the Olympics and scored nine points in eight games at the World Championships. The Montreal Canadiens were already unsure of who they were going to select and that the top spot isn’t secure makes this a very interesting draft, especially with it being held in Montreal.