JT Miller will play his fourth NHL game tonight, likely his fifth game on Thursday against the Islanders and his sixth game on Sunday against the Capitals.
If Miller does play on Thursday and then Sunday, or any time he plays a fifth and then sixth game this season, he will officially start the clock on his entry-level contract and will have two more years remaining after this season.
As Carp from Rangers Report points out, whether Miller ends up staying with the Rangers or being sent back down, the decision will only be about what is best for his development and not because the time on his entry-level deal will start when he plays a sixth game.
Since Miller signed his entry-level deal at 18 as long as he doesn’t play in more than five games his contract can slide and won’t officially start until next year.
John Tortorella has said that his main concern with Miller is not hurting his development.
Adam Rotter: It’s hard to see, barring injury, how Miller won’t play more than five games and start his entry level contract. Besides the fact that he has played nicely for the Rangers since being called up, if the Rangers decided before Sunday to send him down, there is no question that they would call him back up later in the season if they thought he could help.
In his second career game, JT Miller scored two goals for the Rangers last night.
Miller played 13:31, had two shots, two hits, one giveaway and was 5 and 3 on faceoffs.
John Tortorella said on MSG that for a player of 19 years old, Miller has a lot of “puck poise” and then said “he has some bite to him. I would rather have a guy that you need to tame a little bit as he learns to be a pro than than to try to get someone to play with some spunk. He like the way he carries himself.”
In his post game interview with John Giannone, Miller said, “I felt more comfortable with the puck. I had some lucky bounces. It feels nice and I feel more comfortable after today.”
His line mate Ryan Callahan praised Miller’s pose, size and ability to hold onto pucks. He also called Miller a “spark” in how he has played through his first two games.
Henrik Lundqvist said on MSG that Miller “brought a lot to the table” last night and praised his decision making on the ice.
His other line mate, Chris Kreider, called Miller an “unbelievable player” and someone that he is very comfortable with on the ice.
Before the game, Dave Maloney was asked about Miller and said that Miller brings a confidence, swagger and “he is not afraid of anything” on the ice.
While Tortorella appeared excited about what Miller was doing, he did temper his comments by saying that he isn’t sure where it’s going to go.
Tortorella also said last night that he is primarily concerned with not impacting Miller’s development.
Soon after JT Miller was drafted by the Rangers, he spoke about how his goal was to play one season in the NCAA or OHL and then turn pro.
Miller decided to sign with Plymouth of the OHL instead of going to play for North Dakota because he felt that going to the OHL would provide him with a faster route to the NHL.
Last night, Miller made his NHL debut and played 14:25, had two shots, 1 shot blocked, 1 shot that missed the net, 1 hit and one faceoff win.
After the game, Miller was speaking with the NY Post and said that after the way he played, “it wouldn’t make sense for me not to be here.” Miller then clarified his statement by saying, “I think I can skate here. I just have to make sure I stay consistent if they give me the opportunity.”
John Tortorella praised Miller last night and said that he and Chris Kreider could look to take some other players jobs.
If Miller plays more than five games he will burn the first year of his entry-level deal.
Joe Micheletti said that Miller wasn’t hesitant and wasn’t afraid to go to the net or take hits.
On MSG, Miller said that as long as he moves his feet and brings consistent effort he will be fine.
On the post game show on MSG, John Tortorella was asked about the play of JT Miller and Chris Kreider.
Tortorella said, “They are probably going to take some peoples jobs. I’ll tell you, with our hockey club right now, we have some guys that are really playing hard and we got some guys who are playing scared and tentative. I’m very happy with Kreider. I thought Miller was hard on the puck, did some nice things. We have some guys who are playing careful and we don’t play careful hockey.”
2011 first round pick JT Miller is slated to make his NHL debut tonight for the Rangers in a likely fourth line role.
Miller told the Rangers website, “I slept well last night, was pretty relaxed. But I am anxious to get going now. I am excited.”
On his game, Miller said “I’m just going to try and bring energy, make plays when I can, be smart defensively, use my speed and skills to get up the ice. It’s pretty simple two-way hockey.”
When asked about Miller during his meeting with the media, John Tortorella said “I watched him during the lockout and I watched him in the World Juniors. I think his game has really grown, he had a really good tournament there and he has become more consistent in Hartford.”
Miller told NHL.com, “I’m just going to be responsible, disciplined, stay within the system to have a good game here.”
Tortorella also said that he wants Miller to just “play” and not go on the ice with a bunch of things in his head.
He also spoke of the process of developing prospects and said, “we don’t want to hurt the process with these kids, Kreider included. We want to take a look, if things happen in a good way we will keep playing him. We certainly are always thinking of the process and development so that they build a foundation the correct way.”
Tortorella added that the team will make a decision on whether they want to work with Miller and coach his mistakes in the NHL or if he would be better off playing more in the AHL.
As Chris Peters noted “Exactly one month ago today, he was celebrating World Junior gold.”
The Rangers called up 2011 first round pick JT Miller yesterday and Miller may make his NHL debut tonight against the Devils.
Miller, 19, has spent the season with the Whale scoring eight goals and adding 12 assists in 37 games.
As Leslie Treff notes, since Miller signed his entry-level contract when he as 18, a month after he was drafted, it has the chance to “slide” twice unless he plays five games in the NHL this season. If Miller plays more than five games this season the first year of his entry level deal will burn off.
Having a contract “slide” would extend it by another year and time on Miller’s contract would not start counting until next season.
This would be the same situation that the Rangers had with Evgeny Grachev. He signed when he was 18, was assigned to the OHL where he had his contract slide, then he played for the Whale in 2009 as a 19-year old and had his contract slide again. Grachev is now in the final year of his entry-level deal with the Blues.
Adam Rotter: The Rangers don’t concern themselves with burning entry-level years as they signed Chris Kreider to an entry-level deal last spring and then promptly burned a year of it while playing him in the playoffs. The same will be the case with Miller. I imagine they will give Miller a few games, then maybe sit him so we can watch one, play him again and decide if he is better off with the Rangers or with the Whale for the rest of the season.
According to Katie Strang, the Rangers have called up JT Miller and Brandon Mashinter and sent down Benn Ferriero.
Mashinter was acquired from the Sharks for Tommy Grant.
Last week the Rangers said they would consider calling up Miller.
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Miller has eight goals and 12 assists for the Whale this season in 37 games.
Mashinter has five goals and seven assists in 38 games. He has three goals and four assists in eight games since being acquired.
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According to Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant, Jim Schoenfeld says that the Rangers are not committed to having JT Miller spend the entire season with the Whale.
In terms of calling up Miller, Schoenfeld told Doyle “we let the play of the player determine that.”
Miller has been considered a candidate to be called up by the Rangers since before the lockout ended.
3:39PM: The AHL announced that JT Miller has been added to the AHL All-Star game. Miller is the youngest player in the game this year.
Chad Kolarik was the Whale representative but he was traded earlier today.
Miller had an assist last night which brings his stats to seven goals and 10 assists on the season.
1/22/12: 4:31PM:Since returning to the Whale with a Gold Medal from the WJC, JT Miller has two goals in six games.
He has nine shots in those six games, is a minus three and has a penalty.
He has seven goals and nine assists in 32 games for the Whale this season.
Miller is profiled by Ryan Kennedy in The Hockey News and Miller told him that he had an adjustment period with the Whale but he loves the competition and playing in the AHL.
He adds that Miller is one of the youngest players in the AHL this season and with many top prospects leaving the AHL for the NHL after the lockout, Miller is now one of the top prospects in the AHL.
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