Rangers’ K’Andre Miller’s absence from the lineup will be hard to handle
The news from New York Rangers practice yesterday regarding K’Andre Miller stunned the team and fans alike. The rookie is dealing with an upper-body issue that may cause him to miss tonight’s game against the Devils.
K’Andre Miller having a great rookie season
In just 13 games this season, Miller has been a joyous revelation. He made the team out of the short two-week training camp and hasn’t looked back.
After he was paired with partner Jacob Trouba, Miller has been a steady force on the ice. His skating ability, strong decision making, and confidence in playing against opponents teams top lines has been excellent.
He has four points on the season, but that is not what define who this kid is and what he means for the Blueshirts. In his last five games against Pittsburgh, Washington, Islanders, and two against the Bruins his time on the ice was 21:59, 22:35, 19:58, 22:40, and 22:20 respectively.
Prior to the start of this season, if you talked about who would win the Calder Trophy for the NHL rookie of the year, two names automatically were on top of the list; Alexis Lafreniere and Igor Shesterkin. Everyone should start watching Miller play because he may be the Rangers front runner right now.
K’Andre Miller’s numbers don’t lie
The 21-year-old has already reached some incredible achievements in his short time in the NHL.
- K’Andre Miller has been on the ice for 12 of the Rangers’ 24 even-strength goals this season; he has been on the ice for more even-strength goals the Rangers have scored than any other player in 2020-21.
- Miller is tied for third among NHL rookies in plus/minus rating (plus-five) and ranks second among NHL rookies in average ice time (19:34) and average even-strength ice time (17:43) this season.
- He is one of three NHL players who have registered at least 20 hits, 15 blocked shots, and 10 takeaways this season (along with Auston Matthews and Jake Muzzin). Miller is also tied for seventh in the NHL (and leads NHL defensemen) in takeaways in 2020-21 (12).
- Since the NHL began to track ice time in 1997-98, Miller is one of only two Rangers rookies who have logged at least 250:00 of ice time through the team’s first 13 games of a season (Fedor Tyutin – 2005-06).
- He logged 4:03 of power-play ice time and 3:46 of shorthanded ice time on Feb. 12 vs. Boston; he became the first Rangers rookie to log at least 4:00 of power-play ice time and at least 3:30 of shorthanded ice time in the same game since Michael Del Zotto on Dec. 17, 2009.
Miller can’t be replaced in this lineup
Miller is not easily replaced in this lineup. Though the Rangers have been struggling scoring goals, the games have been extremely close for most of the 13 games played.
Each of the Rangers’ last 11 games, and 11 of the team’s 13 games this season, have been decided by two or fewer goals, and eight of those contests have been decided by one goal. In addition, three of the Blueshirts’ last seven games have been decided in overtime. The Rangers’ eight one-goal games in 2020-21 are tied for the fifth-most in the NHL, and their 11 games decided by two or fewer goals are tied for the sixth-most in the league. (via NYR PR)
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The improved overall play of the team’s defense has a direct correlation to the improved play of Miller.
Every game, the Blueshirts put out three of the youngest, most dynamic defenseman in the NHL. Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren along with Miller are indeed the greatest show on Broadway even though no fans have experienced this performance yet in person.
Should the Rangers take on the Devils Tuesday night minus Miller, Brendan Smith and others five will have to step up their game. Although they won’t be able to step up the skill level that Miller has displayed this year. A great start to his brilliant NHL career.
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