Can J.T. Miller Become a Star?
The Rangers are going to need JT Miller to step up. With the buyout of Brad Richards and the number of UFAs the Rangers will look to retain, there is not enough money for the Rangers to acquire a new stud center. Instead, the Rangers will look for Derrick Brassard to take on a top 6 role and then J.T. Miller to fill the gap on the third line.
J.T. Miller, now 21, was a first-round draft pick, 15th overall, in the 2011 draft. He made his NHL debut at 19 years old during the 2012-13 season. Clearly the Rangers organization saw talent in him, but it is on Miller to prove it.
Vigneault back in April said, “[Miller] just hasn’t earned the right to be at this level on a regular basis…he needs to show more commitment on the ice and off. Until he does that, he hasn’t earned the right.” But it’s clear that Miller does not belong in the AHL anymore. He may have some work to do, but I believe that if he stays at the AHL level, it will not allow him to develop as a player and the only way he can show more commitment is by getting the opportunity to do so.
Miller had two points in four playoff games, six points in his 30 NHL games, and 43 points in 41 games for the Wolfpack. However, he only averaged 11:27 of ice time over his NHL games. When Miller is on the ice during full strength play, the Rangers have 55.9% of the shot attempts.
[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVppC08tfxk”]Game Seven Highlights – [/su_youtube]
According to the scouting report at The Hockey News, Miller’s assets are: speed, offensive awareness, the ability to play center or wing, and the determination to play as a power forward. He lacks the size and physicality and needs to work on his playmaking. Overall he is talented and versatile in his scoring, which is something the Rangers definitely need more of.
Miller obviously has great offensive ability and there is a lot more potential there to be tapped in on. Under Vigneault’s new system where he likes his offensive players committed to defense as well, Miller will do well. He is good at forechecking, shot blocking and knows how to use his stick wisely. Given time to gain more experience and coaching, Miller has the capability turn into the star the Rangers need.