Fantasy Take: Canucks Banking On J.T. Miller
The Vancouver Canucks have acquired forward J.T. Miller from the Tampa Bay Lightning for goalie Marek Mazanec, a 2019 third-round pick (goalie Hugo Alnefelt), and a conditional first-round pick in 2020 or 2021. The Lightning will receive the first-round pick in 2020 unless the Canucks miss the playoffs in 2019-20, otherwise they will receive the pick in 2021.
If you ignore the massive overpayment/gamble that the Canucks have made, they have already checked the box of acquiring another top-6 forward this offseason. Miller should at minimum slot in on the Canucks’ second line, and the fact that he can play all three forward positions should bode well for his chances to play on the top line with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser. As well, expect him playing top-unit power-play minutes with Pettersson, Boeser, and Horvat (defenseman yet to be determined).
Miller was a popular 2018-19 sleeper after being moved to the Lightning from the Rangers at the 2018 trade deadline, yet he underwhelmed with just 13 goals and 47 points in 75 games. Yet Miller wasn’t used much with Steven Stamkos and/or Nikita Kucherov, averaging only 12 minutes of even-strength time. However, he was sometimes used on the first-unit power play, as he was fifth on the Lightning in both PPTOI (2:35) and PPP (20) last season. Since the Canucks don’t possess the scoring depth of the Bolts, it’s fair to say he will receive more opportunity in his new home. For those reasons, Miller could be a popular sleeper pick for the second consecutive season.
Assuming Miller takes on top-line minutes and first-unit power-play minutes in Van City, Tanner Pearson, Sven Baertschi, and Josh Leivo are all candidates to get bumped down in terms of both even-strength time and power-play time if Miller plays on the left side. Antoine Roussel could lose even-strength time, but at this point it seems unlikely the gritty winger will be in the top 6, and he wasn’t being used on the power play anyway.
If Miller plays on the right side on the second line, Jake Virtanen or Nikolay Goldobin could get bumped down. Of the two, Virtanen seems better suited for a third-line role. In fact, Miller’s acquisition could also mean that the Canucks decide to move on from the inconsistent Goldobin, who is an RFA.
In TB, a number of candidates could move up to the top PP unit, including Yanni Gourde, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, or Alex Killorn. Miller's spot on the top power play wasn’t as cemented as the big three of Stamkos, Kucherov, and Brayden Point, so these forwards could be looking at a rotation for that fourth spot again in 2019-20.
Players this helps, in order:
Players this hurts, in order:
Fantasy owners are already discussing the deal – give your take here!
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