Updates on the Canucks and Flames – March 16, 2017

by | Mar 16, 2017 | Rumors | 44 comments

This season could be Ryan Miller’s last with the Vancouver Canucks.

The latest on the goaltending of the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames in your NHL rumor mill. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Iain MacIntyre recently speculated this season could be goaltender Ryan Miller’s last with the Vancouver Canucks. He expects Miller will make family a priority when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, noting his family lives in Los Angeles. While the Canucks would ideally like to re-sign the 36-year-old Miller to a one-year deal, MacIntyre feels that’s unlikely for Miller, who’s proven this season he can still be a superior starting goalie in the NHL. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s played well on a rebuilding Canucks team, but it could prove difficult for him to land with a club in or close to Los Angeles. The LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks are all set in goal. The Arizona Coyotes could use a quality backup for veteran starter Mike Smith, but Miller might not be what they have in mind. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Miller returning to the Canucks on an affordable one-year deal. 

CALGARY SUN: In his 10 reasons on why the Flames recently enjoyed a 10-game winning streak, Eric Francis cited the strong play of goalie Brian Elliott. Having overcome a poor first half of the season, Elliott’s performance notably improved in recent weeks. Francis speculates that ” it’s now suddenly probable he’ll re-sign with the club long-term.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliott’s performance of the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs could determine his long-term future with the Flames. Ben Bishop will also be eligible for unrestricted free agency in July and the Flames attempted to acquire him last June before opting instead on Elliott. The Flames were also linked to Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury last June and in the days leading up to the recent trade deadline. If Elliott stumbles down the stretch or in the postseason, the Flames could consider other options between the pipes. 


  1. If family is the priority and not playoffs and he has played like he has on some young rebuilding teams in Buffalo and now Vancouver maybe Miller could consider the Golden Knights, close to home and a situation he is familiar with.

    • I assume Miller would like to play for a team that is both close to his family and can quickly contend for the Stanley Cup. Beyond the Canucks, there are not many teams in the Pacific Division in need of a 36-year-old starting goaltender.

      The Canucks do not have a legitimate successor to Miller in goal yet. Until they have someone ready, it would be wise to extend Miller for one year.

      • I agree but may as well wait until after the expansion draf, there may be cheaper options available. I believe the Canucks think Markstrom is close to being the starter. That would explain the 3 year extension he signed last June kicking in next season at a cap hit of 3.6 & change. Demko should be ready to assume the back up role as Markstrom enters the final season of that extension in 2019-20.

        Bringing Miller back for a year makes sense if his salary demands aren’t to extreme. 3.5 to 4 as he’s over 35 can even be addressed with bonus monies.

    • I was looking for a lead-in topic that would allow me to take advantage of a knowledgeable resource, and you provided that when you mentioned the Golden Knights.

      There had been much speculation that, rather than having their own affiliate team, they would want to share an existing AHL team with another NHL franchise, to save on operational and player expenses.
      Do you know of any further developments?

      • Ahl would have to expand otherwise… not sure they are set to do that. Maybe they wait on the likely 32 NHL team and do their expansion in one swoop

      • There are a couple of cities in the ECHL closing up shop this year which could make the jump in necessary along with a dormant AHL franchises like Reno, SLC and Fresno. My guess would go to Reno.

  2. Elliot, fleury and Bishop are all top Echelon goalies available. Is there enough demand for them to cash in on big contracts as UFA’s or in MAF case in a trade?
    I think they will be disappointed.

    • It’s a limited market for a the appearance of sudden glut of top-salaried goaltenders. Unlike all the other positions where a team needs at least 4 and 6 of each, they only need 2 at the NHL level and one of ’em isn’t going to be paid top dollars. I agree that Miller – given his family “situation” – may find Vegas as his best bet as a UFA – IF McPhee sees him as the goalie he wants to start his franchise.

      • Depending on who Vegas took in an expansion draft the “starters role” may be easier to win there than off any of the alternative in the area and could possibly get a contract with a couple years term instead of one…..play it off as former Olympian goalie instead of Marc Andre Fleury who many will be left thinking is that guy from cirque de soleil?

    • I think MAF is a perfect fit in Winnipeg for 2 years until Helinbuck is fully ready. they need an athletic goalie who can make the big stop because their defense is weak or average. With the way that team can score GOALS all theY need is an athletic goalie who can make the timely save. MAF is $2 million cheaper than what Bishop wants and you don’t have to give up on Hellinbuck…thoughts?

      i think Elliot has rebounded may end up resigning in Calgary… Bishop maybe to dallaS, Vancouver PHILADELPHIA

      • Bishop wants 7.75 million!!!!! Bologna.

  3. Not a leaf fan, so don’t shoot me for mentioning them. But how bad is there defence right now. Morgan Reilly was having a down year, but right now it’s to the point of disastrous.
    Lou has to do a major restructuring of the D in the offseason

    • The majority of the goals being scored you Reilly on the ice, his coverage is horrendous

      • See*

    • how would you like to play against every top line in the league you can’t be perfect every night and he gets magnified in toronto what about methot in ottawa or emelin in mon

      • I agree Bob. He literally just turned 23 & is being asked to play as a #1 Dman. Something he’s not yet ready for & may never really be suited for but way to young to make that determination.

        There are some concerns though. I have seen him do things on numerous occasions that leave you scratching your head that would get your ass chewed of in Midget minor, hell in just competitive hockey inside a youth minor association. This is cause for concern but I assume as he gets another 2 to 3 years experience these mental mistakes will improve.

      • It’s not like it’s Reilly’s rookie season though, age isn’t an excuse for the major gaffs he is making

      • Isn’t that what ultimately killed Phaneuf in Toronto? Along with being captain of the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, and answering for it like a pro after every loss, he was a # 1 pairing with whoever and always going up against the other teams top line at 24-25 in a game. They turned on him en masse as if he was the sole reason for their year-after-year ineptitude to the point where they drove him out of town. Much like they did with Larry Murphy before him. That turned out well too – for Murphy.

      • not to mention george that ottawa keep saying suck it up phanuef and now say he is the best defenseman

      • What about methot? He is something like a plus 45 over the last 3 years. If you didnt notice ottawa’s record the last few years wasnt good. Most of the players were in the negative.

      • Ottawa says??? There are 1 and a quarter million in the metro Ottawa area – all of them said that? Sure, some probably did, so what?

    • Not quite as bad as the Flyers I think is the obvious answer. How bout that Ghost bear fella that was supposed to be the next Mark Howe?

      • Why does that have to do with Reilly shticky? You like to spin things around not even you can turn Reilly into a defensive dman he is a disaster in his own end

      • Faulk Ekblad Gostisbehere all D that are around the same age as Rielly that are all kinda having the same issues but meatheads like to pretend your on to something and make it out like 23 year old D playing over 20 minutes a night shouldn’t struggle a little at points lol funny not one mention of those guys mentioned but Rielly Rielly Rielly, do you not watch the game Biggie or do you just form your hockey opinion off sportsnet and TSN highlights and panel shows? Yes Rielly is struggling a bit recently (also has a high ankle sprain) sometimes that’s what happens when young D play top line minutes especially when they are playing those minutes with an NHL rookie D partner in Zaitsev. lol

      • Let’s keep going for guys who seem to be on the ice a lot when the other team scores, Barrie Muzzin Faulk Ekblad Severson Gostisbehere OEL Zadorov Hamonic Hanafin Brodie Rielly…what a bunch of bums lol

      • Struggling a bit??lmao take the leaf glasses off dude all those dmen you listed are more competent in their own end, Reilly is like watching a bantam play defense he is terrible

      • Ok “dude” it must be if you say so..

  4. So Vancouver leaves Miller unprotected or makes a trade with the Knights? Elliot is playing excellent. I think the knock is the prolonged slumps he is prone. Not sure he is the answer. Similar contract and term maybe. Gillies will be ready at some point.

    • Part of Elliots problems early was the defense not playing great either

    • Sorry Silverscreen I confused. That’s very easy this AM. Miller unprotected? He is a UFA. Do you mean left unprotected if resigned before expansion?

  5. I don’t see a UFA goalie like Miller or Bishop signing in Vegas. The goalie market pre expansion draft is bad for obvious reasons, teams can only protect 1 goalie. Post expansion it improves but as George stated supply & demand doesn’t work well for goalies with only 62 jobs available before injures. That said there will be some movement post expansion.

    MAF is a possibility in Vegas but I still find that unlikely I assume he ends up else where.

    I see Vegas selecting 3 solid young goalies from the group available in the expansion draft much will depend on what other players these teams expose that have good young golaies unlikely to be protected.

    Grubauer is my favorite if Washington doesn’t trade him prior to the expansion draft. Other options are Dominque; assuming Arz protects Smith, Subban, Ullmark, Korpisalo, Forsberg, Coreau, Mazanec, Berube, Stolarz, Binnington, Bibeau, Sparks & Gudlevkis.

    I assume NYI will bring in some form of mentor to help shelter a young goalie. Some like Halak might make sense. If MAF doesn’t have any other suitors although I think there will be several this would be a good spot for him. Some veteran will be brought in to mentor from 3 selected from the group above.

    • Pardon me NYI should read Vegas. 2 nights of to much socializing.

    • I’ve been hoping Carolina would trade for Grubauer at the end of the playoffs. If he is not traded he will probably be selected by Vegas. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vegas and Washington make a pre expansion draft deal to ensure he ends up in Vegas. Washington needs some draft picks.

      • To me he’s the best goalie potentially available. That makes a ton of sense to me. I had been advocating for Carolina to make a run at MAF but I like your idea even better.

  6. I am not sure that one half of a great season is worth signing Elliott to a long term deal.

    • The litmus test will not be that 1/2 season but that combined with how well they do in the playoffs and, if they get bumped at some juncture, whether or not the reason for their elimination can legitimately laid at the feet of the goaltending. It’s like the ultimate audition.

    • Elliot’s “great” seasons with the Blues should count for something as well. His most recent run in Calgary (half season) is not just a fluke. Good teammate too. Get him signed.

      • i agree Mark in Iowa I think MAF is a terrific fit in Winnipeg or Calgary if t they don’t chose to resign Elliot…. who did slighty outplay MAF in Calgary’s 4-3 shootut out win last week

    • Maybe…. true he has rebounded….Elliot did slighlty out play MAF in that 4-3 shootout loss in Calgary…

  7. Can I get a big WHOOPEE DOoo for the outdoor game in Ottawa? Late to the outdoor dance. I hate to be a Debby downer, but why would I pay twice as much to sit outside and watch a game I probably wouldn’t turn on my tv at home. Gimmicky and done to death. The horse is long gone, they’re beating dead fertilizer now….and I’m a Sens season ticket holder.

    No thanks.

    • Complain to the authorities if someone is twisting your arm forcing you to go. The place will be packed.

    • Not sure this is beating a dead horse and if you don’t like it, don’t go lol. Like George said, it will be packed. Sweet that you’re a Sens season ticket holder but I think you’re in the minority when it comes to this game. The NHL has been doing outdoor games for a while and all teams want them because they are a nice extra boost in revenue. Would I go and watch? Maybe, I mean the prospect of sitting in the cold is not fun, but surrounded by rowdy fans and good friends… Makes it a bit warmer.

      • Thermal underwear and socks and, if needed, a balaclava (along with a flask containing … err … hot coffee, and who cares? Habs fans from the area will be there in droves. It will be packed as well a few weeks earlier for the Grey Cup

      • I’ve never been to any of the outdoor games and look forward to finally seeing one live, even tho for the most part I agree they are getting to be a little to common.