J.T. Miller has been what the Vancouver Canucks hoped he would be when they acquired him in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 22.
He has been arguably the Canucks' best player early this season, and this is a team with lots of young talent on a 6-1-0 run entering its game against the Washington Capitals at Rogers Arena on Friday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN1, NBCSWA+, NHL.TV).
The forward has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in nine games, tied for the Vancouver lead with linemate Elias Pettersson (two goals, eight assists). Next on the Canucks in scoring is linemate Brock Boeser with seven points (two goals, five assists).
"I'm obviously lucky to be playing with two really high-end players," Miller said. "We just try to keep it simple."
That's the key.
Vancouver paid a high price for Miller: goalie Marek Mazanec, a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional first-round pick. The first-round pick will be in the 2020 NHL Draft if the Canucks make the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season or the 2021 NHL Draft if they don't.
But general manager Jim Benning liked that Miller had four seasons remaining on a five-year, $26.25 million contract signed with the Lightning on June 26, 2018, and thought he could help the development of Vancouver's young players. Coach Travis Green said the Canucks had been looking for someone to play with Pettersson and Boeser.