The curious case of Rangers prospect JT Miller
In the fall of 2013, JT Miller came to New York Rangers training camp out of shape. The veterans and some young prospects had been there skating already, some for weeks. This was not how you make this team was the message being sent through the team.
This fall, he came early and in-shape ready for camp. He worked hard over the summer and did the right things in the preseason. During the summer it was assumed JT Miller would have a roster spot on the NHL squad for the 14/15 season. So why is Miller in Hartford producing for the Wolf Pack? Many feel Miller has outgrown the American Hockey league but he has trouble performing at the NHL level. JT Miller’s case is a curious one.
Offensively, JT Miller is as confident as there is with the puck. In the minors he’s able to play without the puck because the pace of play is slower. In the NHL, it appears he isn’t comfortable with the responsibilities in the defensive zone as the pivot. He also has a hard time finishing his chances against NHL goaltending. He’s very skilled with the puck, that part of his game is at an NHL level. His vision on the asset that will only improve. However, JT Miller will have to work on his play away from the puck and his positioning during defensive zone coverage to stay.
[su_pullquote]J.T. Miller is an excellent two-way player, with some offensive upside. A good face-off man, he plays well along the boards and in tight areas. Per Hockey’s Future – J.T. Miller. [/su_pullquote]
The Rangers are thin down the middle and wanted JT Miller to make the team as a center. JT Miller couldn’t play a two-hundred foot game as a pivot for the New York Rangers; Hockey’s Future has JT Miller listed as a right wing. At the NHL level Miller may be best suited as a winger. He won’t see much ice time with the Rangers unless there’s an injury on the wing, and with the way things are going this season, it’s possible.
JT Miller worked hard in camp and preseason but Hayes’ size, 2-way game better fits the Rangers need at center.
With the signing of Kevin Hayes, the New York Rangers won a sort of lottery. I don’t think they ever felt they’d win the Kevin Hayes sweepstakes. He brings size and some scoring touch. Hayes can also play in all three zones which put him ahead of J.T. Miller on the depth chart at center. Both players are natural wingers but the Rangers are loaded on both sides of center.
At 21 years of age, JT Miller is going to make an impact on the Rangers one way or another. Whether that be on the big club, preferably as a winger or used in a trade to acquire a critical piece to this season’s Stanley Cup puzzle – Miller is an important Ranger.