Archive for JT Miller

Apr
20

First thoughts of the off-season

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www.themorningskate.com

Well, the off-season is officially upon us.  For the first time in years, we can watch playoff hockey stress free.  Kinda stinks.  There has been quite a bit of noise so far in Rangerland, between coaching rumors, exit interviews and an uncharacteristically vocal James Dolan.  As you can imagine, I have some thoughts…

1. First, I want to talk out the coaching rumors.  Dolan has seemingly cast a wide net of potential candidates, ranging from NCAA to NHL experience.  He has indicated they are keeping an open mind with regard to experience, prioritizing a certain skill set over a set resume.  This is a good thing.  If there is a clear direction within the organization about what type of mindset they are looking for behind the bench, the more likely they actually get it as they move through the interview process.  I know I felt a little baited and switched with AV.  I understand the hire based on where the team was at the time, but he was advertised as progressive coach who was going to use data to try and gain a competitive edge.  We all now know he turned out to be just another hockey man.  Hopefully, with a clear mandate, we actually get what the team is telling us they want. Read More→

Categories : Musings, Offseason
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rangers canucks

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Yesterday was slow in Rangers town for the majority of the deadline. With most of their moves made already, it was just a matter of whether or not Ryan McDonagh would be moved. And the final NHL trade of the deadline was the biggest of the deadline. The Rangers sent captain Ryan McDonagh and winger JT Miller to Tampa for Vladislav Namestnikov, prospects Brett Howden and Libor Hajek, a 2018 1st rounder, and a 2019 conditional 2nd rounder. As per usual, I have some thoughts.

1. First addressing the big piece: Not getting one of Brayden Point or Mikhail Sergachev. Once Miller’s name was confirmed in the McDonagh trade, we all thought the return would include one of them, and it is natural to feel disappointed at first when it was confirmed neither were in the trade. It does make sense, though. The Bolts were looking to add to their Cup-potential roster while subtracting minimal pieces. Including one of Point or Sergachev would have been counter productive. It’s safe to assume Jeff Gorton asked for one of them, but it didn’t work out. Regardless, there is still a lot more to unpack in this deal.

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Categories : Musings
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Paul J. Bereswill

At the end of tonight’s game in Arizona, the Rangers will reach the midway point of their 2017-18 regular season.  That means it’s time for some midseason report cards!  To kick things off, we’ll be focusing on the top six forwards.

Complicating matters slightly is the fact that the Rangers don’t have a strict delineation between their top six and bottom six.  There’s definitely a fourth line.  There’s Kevin Hayes handling tough match-ups on a nightly basis, but his wingers have rotated regularly.  So for the purposes of this exercise, let’s call the following players “the top six”: Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Pavel Buchnevich, Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash, JT Miller and David Desharnais.  Yes, that’s actually seven forwards.  Just roll with it.

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NBC Sports

There is no way around it; Mika Zibanejad going down with a concussion is about the worst case scenario for the Rangers short of losing Henrik Lundqvist (especially on a senseless, late hit like that).  With already severely compromised center depth, both the short and potential long-term blow to the lineup is massive.  When the season started there were serious concerns about the lack of qualified replacements for Derek Stepan and Oscar Lindberg.  The Blueshirts were left with a ragtag group in the bottom six, and now their depth will be tested even further. Read More→

mika zibanejad

The other day, I went through the bottom half of the 2016 New York Rangers 2016 Top 25 Under 25. There wasn’t much turnover, with just three new faces. However there were some big movers up the list, as big years from a few kids led to some shakeup in the bottom half.

Now it’s time to go through the top half of the list. Let’s remember that there are a good number of players on the NHL roster that are under 25 years old, so the top half of this list is mostly populated with them. There was a shift in the rankings for some of these kids though, as we’ve learned what each one is capable of in the lineup. Plus, the Rangers added some first round picks for the first time in ages.

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Categories : Prospects
Comments (36)
Jul
28

A few things on my mind

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newsday- “Yes, Jeff. You need four centers”

Welcome to the dog days, folks.  The time of year when hockey news is as dead as can be.  #HockeyInsiders are hanging out at their Ontario cabins and the closest thing to on-ice activities are various prospect camps.  This is all well and good if the Rangers weren’t two defensemen heavy and two centers light.

When Jeff Gorton started to re-make the defense this offseason, it was really inspired stuff.  He pulled the trigger on a Girardi buy-out, convinced Kevin Shattenkirk to take a sweetheart deal to come home and recognized how effective Brendan Smith was down the stretch in stabilizing a weak back end.  He had courted some Shattenkirk insurance in Alexei Bereglazov and Neal Poink.  The Rangers’ defensive depth this offseason looks an awful lot like their forward depth last offseason.

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Categories : Offseason
Comments (52)
Jul
17

What a move to center means for JT Miller

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jt miller

Photo: NHL.com

As currently constructed, the Rangers have a decently sized hole at center. It’s the one major flaw of the roster right now that can’t be ignored. There are no names in free agency that make sense. There are some trade targets, but anyone worth while is going to cost an arm and a leg to acquire. The fix, as of now, appears to be internal, and one of the major names thrown out there is JT Miller, and shifting him back to center.

Miller was drafted as a center and played the position until he came to the Rangers. It was then that Alain Vigneault moved him to wing. On the surface, it made sense. Miller isn’t sound defensively, and AV requires a lot of defensive play from his centers. Even Martin St. Louis, one of the game’s greats, had trouble making the shift to center for a short period. There’s a good reason for that too.

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Categories : Hockey Tactics, Players
Comments (40)
May
26

Potential trade partner: Anaheim Ducks

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sami vatanen josh manson

Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG

Update: The injuries to Vatanen/Lindholm have minimal impact on the expansion draft. They will still need to be protected by Anaheim, and Vegas would still jump at the opportunity to get either of them. It may impact Vatanen’s trade value. albeit minimally because he is only 25.

The biggest task of the offseason for Jeff Gorton is to retool the Rangers’ blue line. While we’ve covered the futures of Dan Girardi and Marc Staal extensively, there is still a giant hold at 1RD. It’s a position Girardi has filled for the past decade, but simply cannot do so going forward. While Kevin Shattenkirk is certainly intriguing, the price tag may make him unrealistic. In that regard, Gorton must turn to the trade market.

Identifying trade partners takes an unusual twist this summer, as teams are going to look to make trades to position themselves favorably for the expansion draft. For some teams, that may mean trading a defenseman that may be lost during the draft. That is exactly the case in Anaheim.

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Comments (107)
rangers canucks

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Per Larry Brooks, the Rangers are getting a lot of calls as the trade deadline approaches, most of them asking for JT Miller. Luckily, the answer the Rangers have been giving to every team is “no.” When the season started, Miller appeared to be the odd man out in any deal to address the defense. However Miller has played himself into possibly untouchable territory.

Of course no one is truly untouchable, and Miller can likely still be had in the right deal for a stud defenseman. However as of now, those offers have not been made. So have no fear, Miller won’t be gone in the wrong deal. And yes, dealing Miller for Kevin Shattenkirk is the wrong deal.

Brooks noted that the Rangers have been heavily scouting the Kings, and while we concluded that it could have been for Alec Martinez, Brooks thinks it’s for 24-year-old defenseman Paul LaDue. But as Brooks states, do you really think Alain Vigneault will sit Kevin Klein for a kid with little NHL experience?

Comments (23)

kevin hayes

The New York Rangers are an incredible case study, I do not believe that there has ever been a team with such stark differences regarding the talent level between the offense and the defense. The offense is so deep that we may as well call our forwards Mariana. Tje defense… eh I don’t have to say anything.

In the grand scheme of things, especially seeing the moves that GM Jeff Gorton made over the summer, I still consider this season to be a transition season, and it hasn’t been as bad on the eyes as last year so that’s always fun. The Rangers’ possession numbers aren’t something to be thrilled about though, and while the defense has been a focal point of the issues that we have faced, I think there are some things that may at least be worth trying to maximize the potential of our offense.

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Categories : Players
Comments (18)