How real is the threat of J.T. Miller being signed to an offer sheet?

JT Miller (Getty)

JT Miller (Getty)

J.T. Miller has had a roller coaster journey with the Rangers since showing his face just two seasons ago. The former 15th overall selection in the 2011 entry draft was on the Hartford Express between the Rangers and Wolf Pack (NYR AHL affiliate) for the first few years. In 2013, he came into camp out of shape and that left a real bad taste in Alain Vigneault’s mouth.

That season he played 30 games and registered 6 points as he was shuttled back and forth between the two clubs. On the 6th demotion Vigneault said to the press:

“He 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.” via the NY POST
Now after a season that saw him emerge into a more reliable 3rd line forward with offensive ability, the tune has changed. In the post season, his star shined even brighter as he became a force on the Rangers top line in the Eastern Conference Final and that may have other teams taking notice today.
Miller is owed a qualifying offer of 777K and does not have arbitration rights. According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post this makes him a prime target to a Group II offer sheet.
[su_quote cite=”Larry Brooks” url=””]If a team were to extend Miller a not altogether unreasonable offer sheet of, say, five years at $2.75 million to $3.25 million per, the Blueshirts would have to choose between matching and thereby most likely losing either Yandle (entering the final year of his deal at a $2.625 million cap hit) or Hagelin, or allowing Miller to go in return for a second-round compensatory draft pick. Even a nuisance two-year offer sheet at $2 million per would create havoc in the Blueshirts’ shrunken world.[/su_quote]
JT Miller  (MSG)

JT Miller (MSG)

This was written on June 24th and Carl Hagelin has been moved since. Was this in anticipation of an offer sheet? It was also rumored that Hagelin was looking for a contract at over 4M per season. Coupled with the genuine threat of Miller being signed away for only a 2nd round pick, Hagelin being traded makes a lot of sense.

The threat is real, just ask the Blackhawks. Chicago believed that Brandon Saad was going to be extended an offer today that they could not match due to cap constraints. Instead they packaged him in a 7 player deal with Columbus.
[su_quote cite=”Chicago Sun Times” url=””]A source said Saad wanted a long-term contract worth well north of $5 million, but the Hawks wanted a cheaper two-year bridge deal to buy them time while they clawed out of salary-cap hell. So rather than see Saad sign a lucrative offer sheet once free agency opened on Wednesday — one that would only net the Hawks draft picks if they didn’t match — Bowman opted to trade him to Columbus and get NHL-level players instead.[/su_quote]
Now the Rangers sit and hold their breath. J.T. Miller is slowly emerging into a power forward to be reckoned with in the near future. Even for today he has become a reliable player in their lineup at a low cost. Should someone sign Miller away, the ramifications could be bigger than we all think.

Anthony Scultore has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL since 2014. His work also appears at... More about Anthony Scultore

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