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Why J.T. Miller probably won’t be joining the Rangers this year

The Rangers can’t afford to burn a year of JT Miller’s Entry Level deal

GM Glen Sather attempted to act swiftly to address the Rangers’ depth issue at forward last week, but after Jason Arnott failed his physical the team is still left searching for forwards. Acquiring bottom-six forward Benn Ferriero appears to have been a savvy move, but New York is still thin up front.

The free agent market is barren, so it’s likely that the Rangerswill need to recall another player from Connecticut at some point due to injury, suspension or some other unforeseen circumstances. Thus far, the Rangers have deployed Brandon Segal and Kris Newbury, both of who were immediately sent back to the Whale after one-game cameos with the big club. Neither impressed and coach John Tortorella didn’t seem to have any trust in them, so neither can be seen as anything more than an emergency stopgap solution.

The one player that many think might be capable of doing more is 2011 first-round pick J.T. Miller, but it’s pretty likely that Miller won’t get more than cup of tea this year. Miller has been a quick study in his path to the pros and has a very well rounded game. Based on talent alone, he might make the most sense to be the next in line. But even if the Rangers face a desperate situation in which a vital top-six forward is lost for an extended period of time, it’s doubtful that Miller will join the Blueshirts for more than a quick look.

The chief reason has nothing to do with Miller’s NHL readiness – as always it comes down to money. Miller is in a similar situation to that of Chris Kreider last spring; if he plays more than five NHL games this season, it burns a year off his Entry Level contract*. That’s something the Rangers can’t afford.

*Miller’s time in the AHL this season doesn’t burn a year of his Entry Level deal because he’s only 19.

Assuming Miller played this year and then became a regular across the next two seasons, it would put him in line to be a free agent in the summer of 2015, when New York could be in major cap trouble.

Marc Staal will also be due for a new deal that offseason and Kreider, Ryan McDonagh, Carl Hagelin, Derek Stepan, Marian Gaborik, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, Henrik Lundqvist and Michael Del Zotto will all be due for new deals (and in most cases, raises) between now and then.

The point being: New York has a ton of hefty contracts to dole out over the next couple of seasons and cannot afford to add another presumably pricey youngster it wants to keep long-term to that mess right away.

Miller’s development may be better served by a full season in Connecticut anyway, but the extra year delay toward his free agency will also be critical to the Rangers’ roster planning.

24 Responses to “Why J.T. Miller probably won’t be joining the Rangers this year”

  1. Dave says:

    I honestly had no idea that 19 year olds in the AHL had their contracts slide. You learn something new everyday.

  2. rocketroy says:

    WINDOW FOR RANGERS TO DRINK FROM LORD STANLEYS CUP…When you look at this Roster, and especially “The Big 3″, our window is this year & next,maybe one more…This shortened season to me was perfect after getting Nash, but anyway you want to slice the Ol’Apple, we are (2) 20 goal guys short..THIS YEAR…Glens Hot Seat..Our solution is not in available Free Agents, it will have to be trades…Glen has to wrestle with how much of our FUTURE do we make available in those trades.

    • Justin says:

      That doesn’t make any sense rocketroy…you don’t build a team with an eye on one competitive window. You have to plan for sustainable future success, and one player or a small core of players does not define an organization. There are plenty of opportunities to “go for it” so to speak (e.g., Nash, Rick), and recalling Miller might be an appropriate move at some point this season, but you can’t summarily dismiss the notion of long-term planning, even if it does not serve today’s best interests. Not saying Miller should or shouldn’t be recalled under any circumstances, but a 360 degree view of the organization and its present/future is always a prudent analysis, and should absolutely be a factor in any decision made.

      • Dave says:

        Don’t bother. He says the same thing over and over again, but never responds when someone comments or challenges him.

        Wouldn’t shock me if he’s that cmnsnse guy, just with a different IP address.

        • Jerry says:

          What are we going to go back to the days of bargaining our future to maybe win a cup.rocket makes no sense.weve been down that road and it did work ,but look how long it took to rebound.ive been watching this
          Team since 1979.and I can say this team has finally got it with draft picks and stocking up for the future.we can’t destroy it again.

        • The Suit says:

          Ah good old comnsnse and his accusations that we were on MSG payroll. I forgot about that hack.

          • Jess Rubenstein says:

            Wait a second Suit, you missed the memo and once again stole my thunder.

            Now you guys at BSB are on the NYR payroll only on MWF during the odd numbered months during even numbered years.

            During even numbered months in odd numbered years you guys are TTHS (You can earn an extra “S” PROVIDED Dave has stood on the corner of 34th and 8th facing MSG singing “Why can’t we be friends?” while dressed as Bruce Driver)

            Otherwise I am on the MSG payroll at all other times and please don’t force me to take legal action as my lawyer does not come up for parole for another 6 months.

  3. Staten Island Joe says:

    The 5 game limit …is it for the Regular season, maybe he can come up and play the last 4 and that wont effect the 5 game rule, then would the Playoff’s count or is the 5 Game rule just for the Regular season and not the Playoffs ?

    • Dave says:

      Much like with Kreider, playoffs count.

    • Spozo says:

      The playoffs count towards that limit. That’s what happened with Kreider. He was only called up during the playoffs and it burned a year of his elc. I was actually against the move at the beginning of the playoffs but was very happy to admit that I was wrong!

  4. rickyrants13 says:

    Its ad that the Rangers are at a point where a decent playe like Newbury a heart and soul guy get treated like that. Any team in the NHL that is trully a cup contender should easily be able to deploy a player like him without costing them.

    • Dave says:

      You lost me at “decent players like Newbury.”

    • Dave says:

      And if any NHL team would deploy him, then they would have claimed him on waivers one of the 18 times he’s been on it since last year.

  5. Walt says:

    After seeing Miller play while the Whale were in Hershey, and with the W-U20 gold, I’m a big fan of this kid! That stated, Kevin, and Justin make great points.

    I recall last season, any number of us called, ( me included ) for the Kreider kid to play in the play-offs, and he did very well. A few months later, the kid is having growing pains, and will be due a new contract at the end of next season.

    How is Glen to value Chris, based on the short season, and next, to see his true worth. After re-evaluating this, it’s in the best interets of the organization, that Jon continue to play in the AHL, and make the team next season, assuming that he is ready. He could be in a nice group of young studs, Miller, Fasth, and Lindberg. Now that has a nice sound to it!!!!!

  6. Ray says:

    Are we sure the number is five? Everything can find suggests the maximum is 10. since Kreider was not so young, different rules should apply. I mostly agree we won’t see much of Miller – UNLESS the Rangers are really convinced they want him as a top six forward on a long term basis.

  7. rocketroy says:

    ATTN:Justin, DAVE & JERRY…Lets be Real here, it now has been 19 years since 1994, how many times have we even been close to drinking from the Cup…I am not endorsing that we mortgage our future to drink this year..BUT…We made the deal for Nash to drink in (3) years, and now after (6) games it appears we may be a liitle short in our bottom lines in scoring…How does Glen Fix it..??? Just Saying!!!

    • VinceR says:

      What exact trades do you propose? What assets for what players? You haven’t been “just saying” that.

      I’m sure Slats keeps his ear to the ground, but we as fans are not going to hear about every phone call or ping for potential interest.

      We also tend to overestimate what other GMs would give for our prospects or even NHL players. He pulls out some gem deals every now and then, but looking at the Nash deal, Howson put himself over the barrel in timing and public statements. He painted his own dumb ass in a corner. That won’t happen every time.

    • Jerry says:

      I’ve been arguing we let too many players walk away this year and yor right about the bottom six.but we could have just paid Prust ,Mitchell ,feds and added halpern and would have been fine.prust was too much for us but would have been worth it in my opinion.you can’t gut the system.

  8. Rangers407 says:

    Neil Smith may have mortgaged part of the future in 1994 but we wouldn’t have won the Cup without most of those trades. (I still think we could have won if we kept Gartner.) We have more depth and prospects now than we had then. If trading 1 or 2 mid level pieces gets us 1 or 2 role players to complete our roster and win another Cup, I’m all for it.

    • Steve says:

      I am a huge Gardner fan. I was devastated when we traded him. I still can’t believe it all these years later. The wrap-a-round king and wheels of fire. I would have loved to win the Cup with Mike on that team. Feel like we did him dirty by trading him at the deadline when we were in first place. He contributed a lot to that team. I have two authentic Gartner jerseys I always wear to the games.

      Miss you Gartner!

  9. bernmeister says:

    No for this year, they prefer he gets more development and hold off on starting his ELC unless there is major injury, or they gamble and trade Stepan for upgrade/other help and need a replacement C right away.

  10. NYJohn says:

    What we need is scoring from the likes of 3 people that can. Hagelin, Stephan and Boyle. They all could and should be able to donate 15 goals each to this years team. Then there’s no talk about aquiring another scorer.