Canucks' J.T. Miller on early struggles: 'I feel like I'm a little irrelevant'

J.T. Miller has been at the heart of the Vancouver Canucks' slow start after leading the team in scoring last season. (Reuters)

The Vancouver Canucks have not started the 2022-23 NHL campaign the way they would have hoped, dropping their first two contests of the season.

No player embodies the team's early struggles more than star forward J.T. Miller, who aired his frustration to the media following the Canucks' 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

"I've been on for all eight f— goals (against). Pretty frustrated," Miller said.

"I'm just disappointed. I'm not trying to make this about me, but I'm not going to sit here and talk about how bad we played when I can't even lead by example right now. I feel like I'm a little irrelevant and being on the ice for every goal, I don't know what to say."

Vancouver's loss to Philadelphia marked the second game in a row in which the team squandered a multi-goal lead to fumble a win — the Edmonton Oilers rallied past a 3-0 deficit in the season opener to beat the Canucks 5-3 on Wednesday.

This is the first time in franchise history the Canucks have blown multi-goal leads in back-to-back games to open an NHL season, according to Sportsnet Stats.

After signing a huge seven-year, $56-million contract extension in the summer, Miller has so far failed to justify Vancouver's faith in him. The 29-year-old has registered a goal and assist so far this season, but the team has been outscored 8-3 with him on the ice, while only controlling 16.7 percent of the expected goals and 15.4 percent of the scoring chances at 5-on-5, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau still has faith in his star player despite his slow start.

"I think (Miller) is making a good assessment. ... But I know he's a great player, I know he's gonna get better," Boudreau said. "He's having a little bit of a rough time right now.

"It is a straight bottom line when your best players aren't your best players, then you're in trouble any night. I don't think they've been our best players yet."

Miller led the Canucks in scoring last season with a career-high 99 points in 80 games.

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