It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Vancouver Canucks President of Hockey Ops Jim Rutherford.
On Wednesday, the club made it official when it announced former Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager Patrik Allvin had been hired as the 12th general manager in Canucks history.
This came on the heels of the Canucks hiring former player agent Emilie Castonguay as only the NHL’s second-ever female general manager earlier this week, as well as hiring former Daily Faceoff contributor Rachel Doerrie to be in the club’s analytics department last week.
But given that the Canucks and their 18-19-5 record remain within seven points of a playoff spot, while neither being a true contender nor in full-rebuild mode, it’s created many questions about what will be Vancouver’s next objective.
On Wednesday’s episode of The Daily Faceoff Show, both Frank Seravalli and Scott Burnside said they think the Canucks’ top priority has to be deciding what to do with J.T. Miller.
Miller, who leads the team with 40 points, is under contract through the end of the 2022-23 season at $5.25 million per season.
Seravalli: “I think that’s the biggest question mark with this team. There’s not a teeming list of assets that the Canucks have to move.
“But my sense on the J.T. Miller front – and I’ve reported it in the last couple days – some of the teams that have expressed interest in J.T. Miller up to this point. A potential reunion with the New York Rangers. The Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and the Minnesota Wild are all among the teams that have expressed interest.
“Miller, to me, even with one year left on his deal (after this season), you can make the argument that the Canucks need more guys like J.T. Miller and perhaps should consider signing him to an extension.
“But I think the issue here is that J.T. Miller, while he has enjoyed his time in Van., he’s open to going to a team back in the U.S.”
Burnside: “To me, it goes back to the kinds of discussions that Jim Rutherford and his evolving management team will have to have very quickly is: ‘what are we going to do here?’
“They’ve played well under Bruce Boudreau, they’re on the edge of the playoff picture in what is a very murky Western Conference. But let’s be realistic, the chances of them making the playoffs. And then what happens, you play Colorado in the first round. I think you have to be a realist here.
“There’s not a lot of obvious assets to go out the door that you can return high-end picks or prospects. J.T. Miller is obviously that guy.
“I’m with you, Frank. If he expresses an interest in being part of the process there for the next 4-5 years or whatever the number of an extension might be, then you need to know that. But if not, the fact that he has one year left on his deal makes him the kind of asset where you can ask for a first-round pick, high-end prospect, mix of later-round picks, given that extra year. That’s critical in returning high-end assets for a team that really has not had a lot of high-end assets come through the system in the last 3-4 years.
“To me, that’s priority one, coming to that kind of resolution.”
You can watch the full episode here…