With the New York Rangers losing a chunk of their depth that made them so good in 2013-2014, the team needs their younger players to step up. The main player that needs to find his own next season is J.T. Miller. Miller had a tough time finding himself in Alain Vigneault‘s first season as head man, but where will Miller fit in with the team next season?
Miller, who is only 21 years old, has the potential to be a prototypical two-way forward who has some versatility. Miller can play either the wing or the center position. However, the defensive aspect of his game was the reason he couldn’t find a regular role with the Rangers last season. In 30 games last season, Miller recorded three goals and three assists for a lackluster total of six points. His advanced statistics weren’t great either, as he posted a minus 2.4 percent Corsi Relative, furthering the notion that his defense needs work.
However, the Rangers don’t have time for Miller to find his game. The team is already thin down the middle after buying out Brad Richards and letting Brian Boyle walk in free agency. That means New York needs their kids to step up, and Miller is the main kid it needs. He is currently projected to start the season as the Rangers’ third-line center, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he will even be on the opening night roster. If you can recall, last season Chris Kreider was projected to start the season with the Rangers, but a poor preseason caused Alain Vigneault to send him to the AHL. That could be a possibility for Miller if he doesn’t prove something during camp.
Even with all of his flaws, the Rangers have no choice but to have Miller be a top-nine forward. The team let a chunk of their depth go during the offseason, and in order for them to take the next step as a franchise, it needs their young guys to plug their holes. That is where Miller fits with next year’s Ranger team.