5 Reasons New York Rangers Should Keep J.T. Miller In Hartford This Season
5 Reasons J.T. Miller Should Stay In Hartford This Season
Once again the New York Rangers announced that rookie forward J.T. Miller will be going back to Hartford to receive playing time and work on his game.
Now this most recent AHL demotion of Miller by the Rangers is not solely based on his game since he has been playing rather well, but with players coming back from injury and even a new player via trade there is simply no room for him on the NHL roster. Miller is the odd man out, so the Rangers' only choices would be let him rot in the press boxes as a healthy scratch or send him down to Hartford so that he can start every single game and improve his overall game.
Some fans would disagree with what I just said and believe their should be a third choice being that the Rangers should start him and just bench someone else -- someone like any of the team's underachieving veterans. But Miller replacing one of them would only happen in a perfect world. In the real world the Rangers' veteran "stars" make millions more than Miller, and because of contract clauses and issues, the Rangers would not benefit from demoting one of them over Miller. Fair or not, that is just how it is.
However, I happen to agree with the Rangers' decision to send Miller back to Hartford for a few reasons, five to be exact, and I will show you why sending Miller down was the correct move. Not only that, but I also think Miller should remain down in Hartford for the rest of this season. Now of course what I say is not set in stone but just my opinion on the situation at hand.
So please click next and enjoy the slideshow.
5. Takes Dumb Penalties
Too many times this year I have seen Miller take way too many dumb penalties, especially in the offensive zone. Just look at the picture above. That's an obvious hook that referees will call 99 percent of the time. Now the Rangers are pretty good this year on the penalty kill, but no team will ever say they like or want to play shorthanded.
4. Tries To Be Too Fancy
Miller has impressed us with some great stick handling abilities, but he has to know when and when not to use them. Miller tries to be too cute with his deke moves instead of just putting the puck on net or dumping the puck in deep to pin the opposition in their zone.
Miller has great hand-eye coordination, but he needs to spend the rest of the season in Hartford to hone, develop and improve that skill in order to permanently stay in the NHL.
3. Less Stick Checking, More Taking The Body
Miller can be a feisty player who occasionally throws his body around, but so many times I see him stick check instead of taking the body which leads to prime scoring chances for the opposition.
Now I am not ripping Miller because he is still only 20-years-old, and this happens with a lot of young players. You can get away with stick checking in the AHL, but the NHL is a whole different animal. Not only that, but the Rangers need more toughness and physicality in the lineup with more taking the body and less stick checking which is where Daniel Carcillo comes in.
2. Gives The Puck Away Too Often
Related to trying to be more fancy, Miller often gives the puck away when trying to pull off a deke move or just holds onto the puck way too long. Miller has to learn and get used to the fact that the NHL is a much faster game than the AHL, and decisions need to be made at a much faster pace.
One would probably say that sending him down to the AHL would make no sense because the game is slower down there, but the Rangers cannot afford to have him give the puck away in the NHL, have them lead to goals and then cost them points in the standings. What Miller has to do is really take his game to a whole other level in the AHL and always keep in the back of his head that he needs to make fast and quick decisions with the puck.
1. Does Not Produce Enough Offensively
Miller, as we all know by now, is a gifted stick handler with a lot of offensive upside. He has shown this in the AHL this season with seven goals in eight games, but unfortunately that has not translated into offensive success in the NHL as of yet.
Seven goals and two assists in eight games are Miller's stats in Hartford this season while his stats with the Rangers this season are two goals and two assists in 25 games.
The Rangers are a team that struggles mightily in goal-scoring and toughness, and since Miller so far has provided very little of both, replacing him with an enforcer like Carcillo I feel is the right move.
Overall, Miller needs more time in the NHL to improve and develop his skills. Remember he is only 20-years-old, and the last thing the Rangers want to do is turn Miller into Chris Kreider from last year and keep sending him up to the NHL for a couple of games and then send him back down to the AHL. Or actually maybe the Rangers should do that since Kreider has been exceptional this season, but I would not risk that again with Miller.
What do you think?