The Vancouver Canucks have announced that forward J T Miller will miss several weeks due to concerns related to COVID-19. This news comes just hours before Vancouver begins its 2020-21 regular season. Defenceman Jordie Benn will also miss time as he had been hosting Miller. TSN’s Matthew Sekeres announced the news late Tuesday evening.
My understanding is that due to COVID-19 concerns, D Jordie Benn and F JT Miller will not be with the #Canucks for a couple of weeks. Both players are quarantining. Miller had been staying at Benn's Vancouver residence @tsn1040
— Matthew Sekeres (@mattsekeres) January 13, 2021
Canucks J.T. Miller to Miss Time
J T Miller was the team’s most productive player in 2019-20. He scored 27 goals and a team-high 72 points in 69 games. It was a huge breakout season for the then-26-year-old, who hadn’t scored more than 58 points in any prior season. Miller saw a spike in almost every metric including shot percentage, Corsi For and average ice time. It was everything the team could have wanted and more after they acquired him from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Marek Mazanec and two draft picks.
Benn was not a huge factor on offence last year. The veteran blueliner saw his scoring drop from five goals and 22 points in in 81 games in 2018-19 to just one goal and seven points in 44 games. He was still a physical asset with 45 hits and 62 blocks while playing plenty of defensive and short-handed minutes, but Vancouver just didn’t need the former undrafted free agent as much with their young defensive talent.
How Vancouver Adjusts
It’s borderline impossible to adjust for Miller’s absence. He was going to be a team leader again this season and to help carry the offence. The Canucks will use a patchwork of options to cover up for however long Miller is out.
It’s easier to account for Benn’s absence. The 33-year-old wasn’t going to be a major factor this year and the team signed veteran Travis Hamonic to help bolster things in the meantime. Vancouver can also use a young skater like Olli Juolevi or Jack Rathbone. Their blueline depth is inexperienced, but it’s still deep enough to weather this temporary setback.