The Vancouver Canucks could have traded Ryan Miller.
Of course, they didn’t. They instead dealt away younger, cheaper backup Eddie Lack to the Carolina Hurricanes, for a couple of draft picks.
During Thursday night’s Summer Summit, the Canucks’ annual Q&A session with season ticket holders, Canucks general manager Jim Benning revealed that he had firm trade offers for the 34-year-old Miller earlier this off-season.
When a fan asked if there was any consideration of trading Miller, who is signed through 2016-17 at a $6-million cap hit, the GM offered a frank reply.
“We could have moved Ryan Miller,” Benning said. “There were teams calling on Ryan Miller.”
Boos rained down.
Later, an “Eddie!” chant arose.
Benning explained there was no temptation to go with a tandem of Lack and Jacob Markstrom for 2015-16, though there was some interest in Markstrom from Western Conference clubs.
The GM also said he believes Markstrom, 25, will mature into a number 1.
Watch: The full Canucks 2015 Summer Summit
Miller posted a .911 save percentage last season in 45 appearances. Lack, 27, posted a .921 save percentage in 41 games.
Despite the negative response from fans Thursday, Benning stuck to his guns, saying Miller is a proven No. 1 and Lack isn’t quite there yet.
“I think he has a chance to develop into a No. 1 NHL goalie at some point,” Benning said of Lack. The GM said he spoke with every team in the NHL about Lack “two or three times,” and explained that the Swede is viewed as a backup — a view that was reflected in the Canucks’ return.
“He’s going to Carolina, and he’s going to be the backup there to [Cam] Ward,” Benning said. “Eddie Lack’s a wonderful person. He had a very good year for us last year.”
— Eddie Lack (@eddielack) July 8, 2015