Last night against the Islanders, JT Miller played 9:41 but only had one shift in the third period and none in OT.
Miller played the wing, something he says he prefers to do, on a line with Taylor Pyatt and Brian Boyle and had one hit and one shot.
John Tortorella said that he moved Miller to the wing because he was struggling with the defensive coverage down low.
It was Miller’s fifth appearance this season and if he makes one more appearance the clock on his entry-level deal will start.
Last night on MSG, Joe Micheletti said that the Rangers do not care about having Miller’s contract start, “They don’t care about the decision. When it comes down to it is this, you play seven years or you get to age 27 and you become a UFA. They don’t care one way or the other. Their attitude is that if he can help the team they will keep him. Even if they send him down, he is more than likely to play six games this season so the burning the year doesn’t matter.”
Miller told The Record that he wants to stay with the Rangers and while he doesn’t need to be perfect on the ice, he needs to be “good.”
He told John Giannone that he has learned that he needs to keep his shifts short and make sure that when he is out on the ice he needs to make his shifts count.
Adam Rotter: During a normal 82 game season, the Rangers would keep both Miller and Chris Kreider with the team and shuffle them in and out and up and down the lineup. That doesn’t work this year and one of the two is going to be sent down. They provide different things, Miller is physical and works well down low while Kreider has more offensive upside and incredible speed, that both have a place on the third line.
It’s a tough call, but I think I would send Miller down to Hartford and keep Kreider with the Rangers. John Tortorella basically said that Kreider has been okay since returning from his ankle injury, but to potentially have three of the fastest players in the league, Marian Gaborik, Carl Hagelin and Chris Kreider, on three different lines, could really give the Rangers an advantage in getting to pucks and creating offense, or as Tortorella likes to say, “havoc” with their legs.
1:34PM: Kreider was sent down. Miller will remain with the Rangers for the time being.
After Rangers practice today, JT Miller spoke about how he played last night and his first struggles at the NHL level.
Miller told Ranger Rants that he doesn’t think he was at his best last night and that he needs to make simple plays, work harder and think less about what he is doing on the ice and spend more time reacting.
Miller had seven hits but said that he needs to do more than that and get pucks deep, “I’ve got to have more poise, be stronger on the boards against some of their big D. I probably turned it over a couple times more than I should have. I’ve just got to simplify things.”
John Tortorella said that the biggest thing for the Rangers is to constantly assess Miller and see where his strengths lie and where his weaknesses lie, “you can’t get too excited when things are going really well for a young kid, you can’t get too down on them either when there’s a struggle and there was a struggle last night. So we’ll just see how it settles and we’ll make our decision as we go forth here.”
Tortorella added, at ESPN NY, that some bumps are expected with such a young player and that “we think he’s going to be a really good player, we’re just not sure how quickly it’s going to come.
The Rangers decision on Miller won’t have anything to do with the fact that if he plays in six games this season the time on his contract would start.
Last night against the Bruins, JT Miller played 12:24 and had 7 hits, one giveaway and was 2 and 7 on faceoffs.
Miller’s hits came in the:
- First period against Dan Paille
- First period against Zdeno Chara, Nathan Horton, Dougie Hamilton (One Shift)
- Second period against Adam McQuaid
- Second period against Rich Peverly
- Third period against Johnny Boychuk
Miller’s ice time splits were:
- First period: six shifts, 5:21, 53 second average
- Second period: 4 shifts, 4 minutes, 60 second average
- Third period, five shifts, 3:03, 36 second average
There was around a seven minute stretch in the middle of the third period where Miller didn’t play.
At Rangers Report, Carp writes of Miller’s game against the Bruins “I thought it was a very tough first period for J.T. Miller. The teenager actually had a tough night in a tough place against a tough team. I thought he got better later in the game, though”
Pat Leonard writes in the Daily News that after some shifts where Miller had serious struggles and was a liability, the Rangers will need to consider what to do with him and that would include sending him down.
What Dave Maloney, John Tortorella, Billy Jaffe and Ken Daneyko Said About Miller Over The Weekend
To read more of this story, click here
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.
For more on JT Miller, CLICK HERE.
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.
To read more of this story, click here