According to a report yesterday from Vancouver Canucks insider Ben Kuzma of The Province newspaper, Canucks GM Jim Benning received a call from Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin earlier this week concerning forward J.T. Miller.
Kuzma reports that Guerin called Benning to inquire about Miller and that the Canucks may have interest in a trade centering around Miller and Wild forward Kevin Fiala.
From Kuzma's latest column for The Province:
It’s J.T. Miller the Wild has called about.
The wolves are always at the door in sensing that a wounded club may be willing to part with a front-line player, if the return is right. And with the hockey operations department in turmoil as ownership ponders its next step, a trade might be a logical means to send a message.
In a Miller acquisition, the Wild would likely dangle winger Kevin Fiala, 25, who has had ample opportunity to score, but has just three goals despite 58 shots — which speaks to his minuscule 5.1 shooting percentage. He’s also in the final year of a contract that carries a US $5.1-million salary cap hit.
- Ben Kuzma
I like Fiala as a player, but he's not the nearly point a game player that Miller has proven himself to be over the past few seasons. And while the Canucks have struggled mightily this season, Miller has still been productive. He has seven goals and 19 points in 19 games to start the season. He's certainly not the problem in Vancouver, which has me wondering why the Canucks would ever think to trade him? And you know what... I'm not alone in that thinking.
Miller's agent Brian Bartlett reached out to Canucks insider Rick Dhaliwal to say that Miller is NOT in play on the trade market.
Okay... so Miller's not going anywhere, but what about all the Brock Boeser rumours flying around? Is Boeser in trade talks? And would he welcome a change of scenery, maybe back home in Minnesota?
Again, Dhaliwal got the inside scoop from Boeser's agent Ben Hankinson who maintains that his client is not currently involved in trade talks.
In fact, just earlier today Boeser himself spoke up about the swirling rumors in a one on one interview with Thomas Drance of The Athletic.
Check it out:
“I think it’s just people looking for an answer out in the social media world with the team struggling, especially now. That’s part of it.”"
“I personally don’t think I’m going to get traded,” Boeser said. “I feel like I’m part of the core here and a big piece. That’s just how I feel."
“At the end of the day, I can’t worry about that stuff. I just have to go out and perform. It’s been a tough stretch for me personally, and obviously for the team. And I set high expectations for myself to go out there and produce and help the team win. Lately, it’s been tough."
“I just have to make sure I’m competing hard and get out of this funk.”
- Brock Boeser
So... if Miller isn't getting traded and Boeser isn't getting traded, why are their names featured so prominently in rumour reports?
Well, for one thing they're both fantastic players on excellent contracts so they'd be an obvious target for any team hoping to swoop in and poach the reeling Canucks. My opinion though? It's an inside secret that Ben Kuzma of The Province and Jim Benning are close friends, so I wouldn't be surprised if Kuzma's article was a veiled attempt by Benning and Canucks management to gauge the public interest in a hypothetical deal. The problem with that theory though is that this team should know by now what the public thinks of their moves and, frankly, they shouldn't be operating under the public's influence.