Trade Rumors: Teams asking about JT Miller, will the Rangers bite?

JT Miller gets set to take a draw (Getty)

JT Miller gets set to take a draw (Getty)

Steve Zipay of the New York Newsday wrote in his column yesterday that J.T. Miller is in high demand. If the Rangers are considering a deal to bring in a center that can win face-offs, Miller could be the bargaining chip.

The question then becomes, are the Rangers already willing to part with the 21 year old, 6’1″, 200 lbs LW? Normally I would say that’s ludicrous, but we can’t ignore Alain Vigneault’s usage of Miller. All signs point to a lack of trust by the coach, and if the coach doesn’t trust him, how can he play him.

Whenever the Rangers need to scratch someone, it seems like JT Miller is AV’s first choice. However, it had appeared he was earning the coach’s trust. That was until Miller had carelessly played a puck in the front of his crease which led to Boston’s 2nd goal.

When Derek Stepan returned from his 1 game absence due to injury, AV left fan whipping boy Tanner Glass in and scratched Miller. In truth, Miller earned this latest scratch.

Vigneault explained his decision honestly before the game in Columbus. He felt Miller was having a difficult time and “a few decisions with and without the puck” were concerning. AV also admitted that he is a young player and he’s still going through the proverbial “process”. More importantly, AV acknowledged that he belongs on the wing.

Therein lies the issue, the Rangers are loaded at wing and desperately need a center-man. Acquiring one would allow the coach to put Kevin Hayes on the wing where he belongs. Still, any center that may be worth obtaining (especially one who can win draws) will cost at least $2-3M in a cap hit.

Antione Vermette (nhl)

Antione Vermette (nhl)

Today, JT’s cap charge is $850k and the Blueshirts don’t have the space to accommodate much more salary. Especially if they want to acquire Antoinne Vermette from Arizona.

This is a name I’ve heard before and the Coyotes have been at the Garden a few times this season. Vermette wins 55% of his draws and makes 3.75 million on the cap. He has 29 points in 44 games so he’s not void of offensive talent, but he’s 32 years old and set to be a UFA.

Would the Rangers trade JT Miller for a 32 year old center? Even if the answer is yes, how do you fit in the extra cap charge. Never an easy answer, unless the Rangers use one of their current top wingers not named Nash or MSL to package with Miller to acquire a much better option.

Glen Sather has some work to do and who knows what further tricks he has up his sleeve. To be honest, I’m still giddy we got Kevin Klein for Michael Del Zotto.



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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