Report: Capitals Interested In Canucks’ Miller, Pending UFA Kadri After Backstrom Had Surgery

Photo: NBC Sports

After the news that center Nicklas Backstrom underwent surgery to resurface his left hip came out on Saturday, the Washington Capitals have been linked to Vancouver Canucks right-wing J.T. Miller (who can also play center) and pending unrestricted free agent center Nazem Kadri, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Miller, 29, has one year left on his contract that pays him a bargain $5.25 million against the NHL salary cap. The Canucks are expected to trade him after signing 26-year-old left-wing Andrei Kuzmenko, who recorded 20 goals and 53 points in 45 games with SKA St. Petersburg this past season, out of the KHL on Monday. Thus, Miller has become expendable.

Miller shattered his previous career-highs with 32 goals, 67 assists, 99 points, a 54.1% faceoff-winning percentage, and a 51.03% expected goals-for percentage in 80 games for the Vancouver Canucks. Miller has earned at least 43 points in each of his seven full NHL seasons and has averaged 1.04, .87, and 1.24 points-per-game, respectively, in his three years in Vancouver. He averaged 3:19 on the Canucks’ power play and 2:05 on their penalty kill this past season. Acquiring Miller would not be cheap as he will likely cost a first-round pick, a top prospect, a bottom-six forward, and a lower pick to lure in.

Kadri is coming off of a career-year with the Colorado Avalanche where he shattered his previous personal highs in goals (28), assists (59), and points (87) in 71 games on a team that finished the regular season fourth in the NHL in goals-per-game (3.76). He also earned a 53.88% expected goals-for percentage and has six goals and 14 points in 13 games during their run to the Stanley Cup Final before suffering a thumb injury that required surgery in Game 3 against the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final. Prior to this season, the 32-year-old hit the 60-point mark just once (61 in 82 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2016-17), though notched 32 goals in a season in back-to-back campaigns (2016-18).

Kadri, who has been suspended six times in his NHL career (four of which have come in the postseason), averaged 3:53 on the Avalanche’s power-play (third-most among forwards) and 28 seconds on their penalty kill (10th). He could demand around $8 million per season.

With Backstrom, right-wing Tom Wilson (torn ACL), and left-wing Carl Hagelin (eye injury) on long-term injured reserve, the Capitals could have $26,095,000 in salary cap space this offseason. Though, they will have to make room under the salary cap to activate Wilson ($5.17 million), who is expected to return some time between Thanksgiving and the NHL All-Star Break, and potentially Hagelin ($2.75 million) when they become available to play.

Right-wing Marcus Johansson (pending unrestricted free agent), left-wing Johan Larsson (UFA), defenseman Justin Schultz (UFA), defenseman Michal Kempny (UFA), defenseman Matt Irwin (UFA), goaltenders Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov (restricted free agents) are all in need of new contracts.

In addition to a center, the Capitals are also expected to add a goaltender and trade one of Samsonov or Vanecek this offseason.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was watching the Capitals hoist the Stanley Cup in Las Vegas. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
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18 Responses to Report: Capitals Interested In Canucks’ Miller, Pending UFA Kadri After Backstrom Had Surgery

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes to both!

  2. Andy says:

    The hardest of hard nos on Kadri. No, no, no. Unequivocally no. No. Hard no. Full stop.

    He is a dirty player and I will not be able to root for him if he plays for the Capitals.

    JT Miller on the other hand could be very good here, I just hope the Caps don’t give him a ridiculous extension before he has even played in red.

  3. novafyre says:

    I do not like Kadri. We don’t need another player with a bullseye on his back, warranted or not. And I think it’s somewhat warranted.

    If you’re right on Miller’s price, that is awfully high for a one year contract.

    It sounds that you too feel that Nicky will be out for the entire regular season (a Kuch maneuver).

  4. Lance says:

    I like both players but why get older players at this point? I’d certainly never give up any of the young, promising players. We need young, promising players! BMac should be looking for guys under 24 years old to trade for.

    We are not going to seriously compete for the Stanley Cup next year. Sorry. We need young stars. It’d be plain foolish to acquire older players for a roster than is full of older players already.

    • steven says:

      That i what GMBM learned from GMGM to trade picks and young players for older more expensive players. This team needsaBIG change starting with the GM and his entire staff, the HC and his staff and starting a rebuildon this team with the new GM and HC.

      • Lance says:

        I’m not at the “Fire BMac” stage probably because he won the Cup. He did blow it by bringing in Reirden/letting Trotz walk for nothing. I understand the euphoria after winning the Cup but Reirden wasn’t the right guy for HC. He’s a great assistant coach.

        I was a fan of McPhee for way too long. He made a lot of good moves but couldn’t finish the job. BMac makes a lot of good moves as well (Oshie! is the best get). I don’t understand BMac’s admiration for this year’s defense. They were clearly a group of soft pushovers. Fairly mobile, yes. But a breeze to play against for a good playoff team. We suck at faceoffs.

        I’m interested to see BMac’s approach this summer. I think he should make radical moves to bring in some young stars. The absurd salary cap makes it so you have to limit your loyalty to the players. I love Kuzy but if you can get an 18 to 24 young star for Kuzy+ you have to do it. I don’t expect that to happen but that kind of bold move is what it would take.

        • steven says:

          Understand your thinking on trading Kuzt however first on my trading block is Samsonov followed by Carlson and then Mantha, Oshie and Orlov. problems started for this team back under GMGM when he kept trading young players and picks for older more expensive players and continues today under GMBM. Would have been interesting to see what happened to this team if after winning the Cup they had kept Grubby and traded Holtby(keeping younger and less expensive). They should have traded Eller and kept the Swiss army knife in Stephenson who was cheaper, younger and could play any line and any position; just look how hw has blossomed in Vegas! Looking back on the Varna trade was that really a good one; in giving up scoring for size as neither plays mich D and cost about the same. Imagine the D-line parings if they had not rushed to trade Siehenthaler for a 3rd round pick in the 2021 draft just to clear $800K in salary space. And with that pick they took a kid who is 5’11 Brent Johnson who is playing at North Dakota. IMHO it is time for the owmer to realize that GMBM is nothing more than a clone of GMGM and get rid of him and the HC and start a rebuild as this team, as it is currently made up and coached, is not a Cup winning team and most likely a firt round casualty every year. Somewhere along the line you cannot pay everyone and keep a energized and mobile team that is hungry. YOu have to inject new, younger and talented blood which the caps have not done. Yes they are lousy at faceofffs since trading Steckle and show no signs of getting better. Sad to say this but with the history of signing players I expect that if Pitt doesnt sign Malkin you will see him here in Wash as they seem fatuated with ex Pitt players; see Hagelin, Schultz and Sheary. Guess if you cant beat them take their cast offs. Would berealniceto get a GM and HC in here with some fresh ideas and players.

          • Marky says:

            All GM’s make mistakes. You seem to be using 20/20 hindsight with some of these but remember the REASONS why the moves were made:
            Holtby just won the cup after years being really really good and winning a ton of games. While it would have been nice to keep Grubi as the back up, the Caps had to move Orpik’s 5.5 million cap hit which the Avs took on. Eller/Stephenson, no way they move a really good 3C (at the time) for Stephenson. He did show promise when put in the top 6 (like filling in during the ’18 playoffs) but there was no way he was cracking the Caps top 6 at the time. Vrana showed up the coach during a game and was constantly not willing to play defense and on Lavs teams that gets you gone. You can’t do that! Panik had to restrain him! Seigenthaler requested a trade. He wanted out when they brought in Chara and lost playing time. I agree they didn’t really have to bring in Chara but when a HOF will play for you, what are you gonna do?…The Caps have Fehrevary, Johannson, Alexeyev for future LHD so they should be fine anyway.

            • DWGie26 says:

              Agree with all of this Marky. And remember the GM has a boss and that is Ted. GM job is to help shape the vision (which ultimately comes from ownership) and execute on it. The moves GMBM has made are because Ted wanted to go in on veterans. Siegs was an extra piece with experience and so we took the return. The best GMBM move that nobody talks about was trading Orpik (and his cap hit) so that team could buy him out and Caps resigned cheaper. But this off-season will be different because for first time in a long time, we have space to play with. youth movement is coming and he committed to change. And GMBM almost always does what he says but goes about it quietly. And unlike George he isn’t afraid to make a deal.

  5. steven says:

    NO on both as 1) their age is not young especially kadri who is 32 and both will either cost a lot dollar wise or draft pick and player wish which we do not have to give. There are truly NO extra “top quality” tradable bodies on this team that can be easily replaced. They cannot afford to give up picks as players are needed in the system and to take players away for 1 player means more holes to fill. But then again the trade for Miller is one I can see the Caps making as it is something that they willingly do…..trade picks and players assuming that they always wll find someone to fill that hole. You cannot streangthen a team by getting 1 player and giving up a 1st round pick and 3, 4 or 5 players especially when you are not one player for being able to win the Cup but rather 1 or 2 players from doing a complete rebuild.

  6. Nick says:

    Yeeeeesssss! Bring them both on in! I’d love to see Kadri in a Caps sweater. Of course, though, the racists will have a lot of “hard no’s” to throw out. I mean, a LOT. But the fact of the matter is that Kadris style of play will fit the Caps organization perfectly.

    • Marky says:

      I would love either player but I hope the Caps stay away from any big trades because then your future is gone. Kadri at 4yrs and 8 million is what it might take but he and Ovi would expire at the same time and you could get on with any rebuild at that time. If you want a not as good 2C that would make less money then you sign Strome from the Rangers. He would only cost about 5.5 or 6 million per and no assets given up. Both Kadri and Strome (and Miller btw) can be moved to wing if Backy make a miraculous recovery or if Lappy or McMichael show they can play 2C soon.
      I like Trocheck for the role also and would love if they could get him. Make no mistake, we will hate the salary any of these guys are given but it’s the cost of keeping the team competitive. Any one remember the years before Kuzy came over? Complaining about no 2C? They must land one of these guys.

      • DWGie26 says:

        Yep… has to be FA route. I like in order Trochet, Strome, and Kadri. Lock in CMM as 3C so he can continue to grow. But we need a 2C who can also play RW because i think the caps prefer Wilson at 2RW and Oshie at 3RW if Backstrom comes back in a year.

  7. Jbonez720 says:

    Fuck off Caps. Kadri belongs to us, we’ve adopted him.

  8. Rob says:

    Why give up assets (picks and prospects) to trade for a Center without a contract when there are UFA Centers who could be had for cost and term only? Unless it’s a bigger trade that brings back Demko as well but that would take a huge offer.

    • Marky says:

      That’s the thing, you are right. Best to go UFA. The Caps should still be able to land one of these guys.

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