Tampa Bay wanted to unencumber spending room in a rush with signing season on the horizon, and so they did simply that by transport the ultimate 4 years of J.T. Miller’s contract to Vancouver for a package deal that features two picks, certainly one of which is a conditional first-round choice.J.T. Miller|Jared Silber/NHLI by way of Getty ImagesWith the Tampa Bay Lightning dealing with a substantial cap crunch and with a number of main gadgets on their low season to-do record, it was solely a matter of time earlier than somebody, anybody, was made a cap casualty. And through Saturday’s second spherical on the NHL draft, the axe fell on J.T. Miller.
In a four-piece deal, the Lightning shipped the complete weight of Miller’s contract to the Vancouver Canucks in trade for goaltender Marek Mazanec, a third-round choose in Saturday’s draft and a conditional first-round draft selection. If Vancouver makes the playoffs subsequent season, Tampa Bay will obtain the Canucks’ 2020 first-round choice. If Vancouver misses the post-season, nonetheless, the primary rounder shifts again to the 2021 draft. That’s the Canucks betting they’ll be a playoff workforce in two seasons’ time.
Given the commerce was a obligatory cap dump for the Lightning, the work Tampa Bay GM Julien BriseBois did in getting two high quality draft selections ought to be counseled, as ought to the truth that he cleared up no less than one a part of the depth goaltending difficulty, which was one concern that was dealing with his roster given the transport out of prospect Connor Ingram to the Nashville Predators final weekend. Mazanec, an unrestricted free agent, appears a perfect candidate to be re-signed and fill in as a third-stringer on the roster. The 27-year-old has 31 NHL contests beneath his belt, however he’ll serve primarily as an AHL keeper and harm alternative ought to certainly one of Andrei Vasilevskiy or Louis Domingue land on the shelf.
The true worth for Tampa Bay right here, although, is the extra cap area. By having Vancouver assume everything of Miller’s $5.25-million cap hit, which is on the books for the subsequent 4 seasons, the Lightning unencumber a big quantity of spending area. That’s cap area that can be utilized to lock up restricted free agent Brayden Level, which is No. 1 with a bullet on BriseBois’ summer season guidelines. The 23-year-old is coming off of a real breakout marketing campaign during which he scored 41 targets and 92 factors, all of the whereas additional asserting himself as the kind of two-way pivot who can carry a prime line. After Nikita Kucherov, it may very well be argued that Level was the Bolts’ most essential participant final season, and hypothesis is that his contract extension may carry a cap hit within the $9-million vary.
And whereas the price of acquisition was excessive – partings methods with a first-round choose, notably if it finally ends up as a top-10 choice in 2021, is important – the Canucks have been in want of one other top-six ahead who may take among the offensive onus off of Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser and Calder Trophy winner and sophomore-to-be Elias Pettersson. That trio mixed for 81 of Vancouver’s 219 targets final season, or practically 37 p.c of the whole offense. Including Miller to the combo not solely supplies the Canucks with the potential for a stronger assault, but it surely makes it in order that the offense will be unfold out.
That stated, Miller took a step backwards offensively in 2018-19, managing solely 13 targets and 47 factors after a 2017-18 marketing campaign during which he set profession highs throughout the board with 23 targets and 35 assists for 58 factors. Miller’s downturn in manufacturing was paired with a lowered function on a deep and deadly Lightning assault, nonetheless. He yo-yoed all through the lineup, ultimately settling right into a third-line function, the place he skated alongside Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn. In Vancouver, Miller is all however sure to be a top-six fixture, although, which was a necessity given the flop that has been the Loui Eriksson signing. The Canucks intend to rid themselves of Eriksson and his contract this summer season.
There’s no purpose to consider that Miller can’t spherical again into type in Vancouver, both. Regardless of final season’s offensive dip, he was a constant 20-goal, 45-point scorer within the three seasons prior. In actual fact, even accounting for final season’s scoring slide, Miller has scored at a median of 20 targets and 52 factors per season over the previous 4 campaigns. The 26-year-old is true within the prime of his profession, too, so there could also be no time like the current for him to have himself a profession 12 months.
So, a slight overpayment? Perhaps, but it surely’s a deal that noticed each groups get precisely what they needed. The Canucks add to an offense that was far too centered on three gamers, certainly one of whom was a baby-faced rookie final season, whereas the Lightning bought candy, candy cap reduction, although it probably received’t be lengthy earlier than they’re proper up towards the spending restrict as soon as once more.
Need extra in-depth options, evaluation and an All-Entry move to the most recent content material? Subscribe to The Hockey Information journal.
Tags: tampa bay lightning, trades, vancouver canucksConnect: Concerning the AuthorJared ClintonJared Clinton is a author and net editor with The Hockey Information. He is been with the workforce since 2014. He was born, raised and resides in Winnipeg, the place he will be discovered lacking the online on out of doors rinks throughout city.