NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2021
CANUCKS ARMY: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicating tension is really high among the Vancouver Canucks organization. “Everybody’s looking around at everybody else and saying, ‘okay, we’re waiting for something to happen.’ Is it going to be an executive? Is it going to be a coach or is it going to be a player? Who’s it going to be,” he said.
Friedman also observed there are agents calling the Canucks trying to figure out who’s getting moved if anyone. He also said he’s heard from a couple of teams that saying they can tell the Canucks are trying to be careful to avoid making a move that could hurt them for decades.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports the Minnesota Wild have contacted the Canucks expressing interest in J.T. Miller. He speculates the Wild would likely dangle winger Kevin Fiala, who’s on an expiring contract and has managed just three goals this season despite 58 shots.
Fiala could regain his scoring touch with a change of scenery but Kuzma believes the Wild must sweeten the deal if they hope to land Miller. He suggested big winger Jordan Greenway but felt he’d be better suited to a fourth-line role rather than skating alongside Elias Pettersson. He’s also on an expiring contract worth $2.1 million this season, which could be difficult for the cap-strapped Canucks to absorb.
Kuzma thinks a logical ask by the Canucks in any trade would be a high draft pick. They shipped their 2022 second-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason. Kuzma wondered if Fiala and a second-rounder would be enough for Miller or would it take another pick to close the deal. He also suggested the Wild could be just fishing in hope of landing a player who can help them get out of a tough division and make noise in the playoffs.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports NHL executives will tell you Brock Boeser has been “out there” since the offseason but the trade talk has heated up in recent days. Simpson wondered if that knowledge might be contributing to the 24-year-old winger’s woeful production of late.
Simpson noted Canucks general manager Jim Benning didn’t rule out the possibility of trades during his media availability last week. It appears there’s interest in Boeser but it won’t be easy finding a trade partner with sufficient cap space and a glut of defensemen. He also cited a source saying Elias Pettersson wouldn’t be happy if Boeser was traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are a hot mess and show no sign of significant improvement. Team owner Francesco Aquilini met with Benning last week but apparently, no changes were in the offing as Aquilini intended to remain patient.
The takeaway from that suggests Benning and head coach Travis Green are safe for now. That could mean a shakeup trade could be coming if the Canucks’ fortunes don’t improve soon.
Fiala is a scoring winger but consistency has long been an issue with his production. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. His $5.1 million cap hit this season is comparable to Miller’s $5.25 million and would be a little more affordable than Boeser’s $5.875 million. Greenway is also an RFA with arbitration rights next summer.
If Miller or Boeser are available I would expect Benning will be getting some interest from clubs other than the Wild. Given his uneven trade record, however, Canucks fans will be understandably nervous about his ability to land a solid return for either guy.