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3 Canucks in the 2022-23 Rumour Mill That Shouldn’t Be Traded

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The Vancouver Canucks have been playing some inspired hockey in the past few weeks under new head coach Rick Tocchet. They are playing with structure and winning games, including a five-game run that was recently snapped by the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (March 16). Interestingly, it was fueled by a number of players that have had their names bandied about the rumour mill since the beginning of the season (and even going back to 2021-22). That begs the question, should management reconsider their desire to trade them? Let’s take a look at three players that shouldn’t be moved ahead of the 2023-24 season.

J.T. Miller

Seemingly in trade rumours for 10 years now, J.T. Miller has looked like a new man since Tocchet took over behind the bench. He has seven goals and 21 points in 20 games – including four shorthanded goals and seven shorthanded points – and most importantly is a plus-7. He is also rocking a 56.8 percent faceoff rating and has been tasked by Tocchet to be the shutdown center mostly alongside Phil Di Giuseppe and Brock Boeser. Finally, he’s formed a lethal penalty-killing duo with Elias Pettersson that doesn’t only kill off the penalty but also scores pretty shorthanded goals.

Without Bo Horvat on the team, Miller has become the de facto second-line center behind Pettersson and has looked every bit the two-way monster the Canucks expected him to be when they signed him to that massive contract extension in the offseason. If they want to succeed as a team in 2023-24, they need this version of Miller to show up all season. If he does, it doesn’t make sense to trade him unless you’re getting something equally valuable in return – which is unlikely given his contract.

At his best Miller is a chameleon that can play any style of game. If you want a physical power forward, he can do that, you want finesse, he can do that too. He is also capable of winning faceoffs and producing offence on both special teams. There aren’t a lot of players in the NHL like him, and despite his sometimes prickly personality, his passion for the game and for winning is something you need in the locker room.

While Miller’s frustrating defensive blunders were plenty at the beginning of the season, Tocchet has seemingly gotten through to him to eliminate those and play a more disciplined two-way game.

“After the shenanigans in Calgary this year, I feel like I’ve (played) pretty damn well and honestly, I think I’m playing hard and simple and you know,…

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