While it is anything other than ideal that the Rangers are still without Rick Nash or any semblance of self-confidence, the promotion of J.T. Miller to the Rangers gives the club a chance to let the kid succeed.
Miller comes to the Rangers in great form (4 goals in 3 games with Hartford), and likely brimming with confidence. The Rangers welcome Miller, desperate for someone to step up at both ends of the rink, and –although currently slated for the 4th line– there is an opportunity for top six minutes for the taking. It is in the Rangers best interests that Miller develops well. Now is the time to give him that chance. If they are not going to leave him to develop with the Wolf Pack, then give him major minutes.
Miller is a confident kid and will not be fazed by the opportunity. The Rangers can’t realistically sink much lower in the short-term, so the pressure on a kid like Miller will be deflected by the demands on the more high-profile veterans. It’s a possible win-win scenario for Miller and the Rangers. Miller should be able to see ice time at even strength and perhaps power play against the Capitals on Wednesday.
J.T. Miller represents a big part of the future for the Rangers. With minimal cap commitments long-term, establishing himself now would give the Rangers some assurance down the road. The young forward can be moved around the top six and allows for some flexibility in the lineup, but AV would be best served using a player who actually has some confidence (compared to the majority of the roster) in an offensive role.
Can Miller do worse than Mats Zuccarello so far? He certainly can’t do worse than Taylor Pyatt or Benoit Pouliot. The main concern regarding Miller is that the Rangers don’t mess his development like they did last season with Chris Kreider – all the ups and downs Kreider faced produced a disappointing season. Right now Miller represents an opportunity to develop a top prospect for the long haul, as well as provide a quick fix in the short-term. It’s just down to Alain Vigneault to use him properly, and for Miller to earn that time.