NHL Rumor Mill – March 29, 2022
In today’s NHL rumor mill: Brock Boeser’s complicated contract situation, the potential cost of J.T. Miller’s next contract, and the possibility of Joona Korpisalo staying with the Blue Jackets.
LATEST ON BROCK BOESER AND J.T. MILLER
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston recently reported on Brock Boeser’s challenging contract situation with the Vancouver Canucks. The 25-year-old winger is in the final year of a three-year contract and is due a $7.5 million qualifying offer, resulting in his name frequently surfacing in trade rumors leading up to last Monday’s trade deadline.
The deadline may be past but Johnston believes Boeser’s contract status will remain a talking point. The Canucks can qualify his rights or file for arbitration hoping to reduce that $7.5 million by 15 percent to $6.375 million. If they don’t qualify his rights he would become an unrestricted free agent.
So far, there’s no progress in contract talks between the two sides.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s contract situation will be closely watched if he and the Canucks haven’t worked out a new deal before the offseason.
The decline in his production this season further complicates things as he hasn’t produced at a level that would warrant $7.5 million next season. Nevertheless, Boeser’s agent can point to the hefty raises Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes received from the Canucks last summer to justify the qualifying offer.
Johnston suggested the Canucks may have looked into trading Boeser leading up to the trade deadline but potential trade partners would’ve wanted to talk contract with him before agreeing to acquire him. That will likely be the same issue if they attempt to peddle him in this summer’s trade market.
CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reported Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the next contract for Canucks center J.T. Miller “is going to be in the Mika Zibanejad area.” That’s an annual average value of $8.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller is signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million. He’ll be 30 years old when he becomes eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent status and will turn 31 in the first season of his next contract.
$8.5 million annually is a lot of money to invest in a player who will be entering an age bracket where performance eventually declines. Perhaps the Canucks front office will agree to pay something close to that on a four-year deal but I suspect the Miller camp will want something closer to eight years.
COULD KORPISALO STAY WITH THE BLUE JACKETS?
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline speculated we shouldn’t be surprised if Joonas Korpisalo re-signs with the Columbus Blue Jackets this summer as a UFA. The 27-year-old goaltender was the subject of frequent trade rumors over the past two years. However, the goalie market became flooded with free agents while Korpisalo’s game began a slow slide.
Korpisalo recently underwent season-ending hip surgery, which may have affected his performance this season. Portzline said there’s word the Blue Jackets would offer him a one-way contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo could get a fresh start elsewhere but Portzline suggests there’s no guarantee he’ll find it after this season. If the Jackets are willing to bring him back I can see him returning on an affordable one- or two-year deal.