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The Curious Case of J.T. Miller

JT Miller is THE most polarising player in the pacific division. When his name is mentioned, you are either met with fans who are cheering in the streets that the Canucks have him signed for a long term, and you have those who wish that we had never re-signed him at all. Especially for the contract that he received.

Millers’ career-high 99-point season had a tremendous impact from the new regime. Enough so that they signed him for 7 years for $8,000,000, a whopping $56,000,000 after the contract is over, alongside having a 15-team no-trade clause for the last two years of his contract.

Fan reception to this was met with extreme positivity. At the same time, critics and analytics experts had claimed that this was an overpayment for a winger who, while having a good year, is not worth as much as some of the other players of the same contract pay range. This dialect of optimistic fans and critics continues to rage today as JT Miller has been the belle of the ball even during the season after his extension was announced, albeit in a negative light.

Struggling to really get any offence or defence going in the year to start was a crushing blow both to the Canucks and the mind of the player himself, but this would really take head when he came out to say

This comment showcases frustration, but when challenged to meet said frustration with either a learning opportunity or an ability to self realise, he comes out with the quote,

“I’m trying to be patient, but I’m not going to change the way I’m playing, away from the puck and in my own end because I don’t think I’ve given up much of anything there.”

Patrick Johnston (@risingaction)

A contradictory statement to the one before, and it was one that Canucks fans were not going to let slide. This was the start of the iceberg that would go down deeper through a slide of insanity as the Canucks would continue to lose with no real hope in sight. Players were underperforming and being injured while relying on star players like JT Miller, who couldn’t perform at the time.

After a long losing streak, the Canucks fans at Rogers Arena had had enough. Enough that one fan had thrown his own jersey onto the ice to recapture the magic of last year’s jersey toss. When confronted with this situation and predicament, assistant captain J.T. Miller had this to say,

For a player who had just signed a contract extension, this was not a promising outlook for the locker room situation and the apparent apathetic behaviour that had clearly set in. This comment was another one that had rubbed fans the wrong way, taking to Twitter to discuss their displeasure with the nonchalance of such a situation. Tossing the jersey onto the ice should carry the power of one renouncing his citizenship. At least, that was what was being said on Twitter. But to counter that, the action of being laissez-faire in the situation would deter any more copycats who were clamouring for attention to stand up and do the same.

This would also come when Miller’s position as a centre or winger would clash again. As a self-proclaimed centre, he wishes to be a relied-upon person in the faceoff circle, but against his wishes, he continues to prove to be more efficient as a winger. Both because the position of the centre requires defensive capabilities, but with his recent struggles to backcheck, a debate has already been settled.

The final straw, which seemed to have broken the camel’s back for fans of Miller and fans who were against him, appears to be his comment speaking about his lack of production in the current season, and to that issue, he said,

This comment prompted fans to ponder, why aren’t you cheating the game if you are being paid to play hockey, produce points, and help carry this team into a winning position as a top6 forward?

Despite all of this and all of what is being said against and for J.T. Miller, even this year, he continues to prove himself as a player who can somehow produce points. This is not to discredit his ability to be offensively minded as his 35pts in 39 games, a point total which puts him tied for 3rd in Canucks points (As of 10/01/2023), proves that he is still a fierce competitor on the ice. It is just what has been happening off the ice, which appears so baffling. That, tied alongside a contract that any player would be happy to sign, continues this vicious cycle of being upset at another bad contract, but a lousy contract that can still prove to be worth if able to actualise his problems and continue to produce points at the pace that he is.

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