Rangers must make room for K’Andre Miller next season

If there is one major takeaway for the Rangers brass from watching this post-season sweep at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, it is that K’Andre Miller must be on the roster next season. The time has come to move forward in goal and on the blue-line.

K’Andre Miller must be on the Rangers roster next season

The 20 year-old first round pick, 22nd overall in 2018 is a blend of skill, speed, and power. K’Andre Miller is what every team dreams of having on their blue-line in this decade.

At training camp, he was the non-roster player the Rangers chose to have partake in practice and scrimmages. They did this knowing full well he was ineligible to play in the playoffs because he signed his ELC for 2021.

K'Andre Miller Rangers future star
Miller looked good in camp (Charles Wenzelberg)

What everyone saw at the MSG Training Facility is that he belonged. Tony DeAngelo said as much on his last “Watch Your Tone” podcast. The kid didn’t look out of place playing with the big boys and his skating opened eyes of his future teammates as well.

The Rangers blue-line can’t have both Marc Staal and Brendan Smith on it

New York’s defense was exposed in all three games of the series against Carolina. What was easy to see is that both Marc Staal and Brendan Smith turned over the puck way too often. In truth, the Rangers best left defenseman was Ryan Lindgren.

Next season, Staal and Smith will combine for a $10,050,000 cap hit. Either one of them will be a candidate for a trade, or a buyout in a worst case scenario. Staal has a clause in his contract but may be willing to go to a contender next season.

What the 2020-2021 Rangers defense should look like

Simply put, it is time to give K’Andre Miller a strong look on the blue-line in 2020-21. He isn’t the only one either. Jeff Gorton needs to know what he has in Libor Hajek as well.

While it may be early, the Rangers defense next season should look like this:

  • Libor Hajek / Jacob Trouba
  • Ryan Lindgren / Adam Fox
  • K’Andre Miller / Tony D’Angelo

In 2021-22, when Nils Lundkvist signs his ELC to come over, the Rangers will need to make a decision on the future of Libor Hajek. That’s why it’s imperative to give him a serious look soon.

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