The New York Islanders' need for a scoring winger alongside playmaking center Mathew Barzal had them rumored to be among the suitors for free agent Johnny Gaudreau. With Gaudreau signed by the Columbus Blue Jackets, perhaps Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello revisits his interest in J.T. Miller.
During last week's NHL draft, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman tweeted, “something was up” between the Islanders and Canucks. That sparked a flurry of speculation that the Isles might send the 13th overall pick to Vancouver as part of the return for the 29-year-old center
That deal failed to materialize as Lamoriello shipped that pick to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Alexander Romanov. When asked about the Miller rumor, he replied, “Talk to Vancouver.” However, Canucks GM Patrik Allvin denied speaking with the Isles about Miller.
The Province's Patrick Johnston felt the deal fell through over concerns Lamoriello might balk at the asking price, in turn scaring off other suitors for Miller. He also mused whether the Canucks deliberately set the price high to garner a measure of control in their contract extension talks with Miller
Kevin Kurz of The Athletic wondered if Lamoriello might circle back on Miller with Gaudreau off the market. He felt there might be some wiggle room to get a deal done but not at the price of the Isles parting with their first-round pick in next year's draft.
Cap Friendly shows the Isles with $11 million in cap space with Romanov and fellow RFA defenseman Noah Dobson to re-sign. Lamoriello will have to send a salaried player such as winger Anthony Beauvillier to Vancouver as part of the return in order to add Miller's $5.25-million cap hit and sign Romanov and Dobson to new contracts.