Benoit Pouliot vs. Taylor Pyatt vs. J.T. Miller

Matt Slocum/AP
Matt Slocum/AP

As the season has progressed the biggest concern has been the play of some of the veterans, specifically Benoit Pouliot and Taylor Pyatt (when healthy), and why a player like J.T. Miller isn’t in the lineup instead. None of the three have been consistent enough to warrant a full time spot on the roster, and it can be argued that some have been bad enough to get Prucha’d full time.

Starting with the vets, Pyatt brings a physical game and some good board work to the lineup when healthy, but he has cement in his skates. Pouliot is a fluid skater and creative offensively, but does nothing without the puck and has taken bad offensive zone penalties. Miller is a bit of a mix, bringing good board work and good skating to the lineup, but he is lost without the puck and in the defensive zone. This seems like a “pick your poison” type of decision, but let’s look into the stats a bit.

Player A: 1-1-2, 48.8 CF%, 48.8% O/D% Zone Starts (OZ/DZ starts, doesn’t count NZ), 27.9% Totm%QoC
Player B: 0-1-1, 45.6 CF%, 39.8% O/D% Zone Starts, 27.9% Totm%QoC
Player C: 2-2-4, 50.8 CF%, 51.7% O/D% Zone Starts, 28.0% Totm%QoC

None of the above players are putting up solid numbers. None have consistent offensive output, although Player C appears to have done the least offensively with the better offensive opportunities. QoC here is a wash, so it’s really output versus O/D% Zone Starts.

For all intents and purposes Player B is used in defensive situations, and it hurts his CF% and offensive output. To be fair, his linemates also have similar offensive output, CF%, and zone starts.

Player A is getting a lot of sheltered minutes, but hasn’t done much with almost 50% OZ starts. Although, this is the first time I’ve seen CF% and Zone Starts match up to the tenth-of-a-percent.

Without looking at who each player is, who would you prefer in the lineup? I think it comes down to matchups.

When you need an offensive player in the lineup, player C (Benoit Pouliot) is the guy that gets inserted into the lineup. Considering he is now playing third line minutes in an offensive role, he is perfect for this team need.

Player B (Taylor Pyatt) is someone you would want for a defensive role. That said, the Rangers seem pretty set with Brian Boyle, Dominic Moore, and Derek Dorsett playing the fourth line shutdown role. Pyatt seems to be an odd man out here.

Player A is  J.T. Miller. Miller doesn’t really have any specific matchup potential here. Considering he is still just 20 years old, he should be sent back to the minors, something we’ve discussed here.

Pouliot is certainly not the best option out there for the Rangers, but he is the only option at the moment. Let’s also consider that he is playing the off-wing, which makes defensive responsibilities a little tough, and may be contributing to his troubling play without the puck. A right handed shot there would be ideal, but for now, Pouliot is the best option.

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  • Given the choice, and getting zippo from both Pouliot, and Pyatt, why waste our time with them. Look, Pouliot was a former #1 pick, and I believe 4th over all, and has played for what five teams, in his short career?? If that many teams gave up on him, why do we play the man??

    Miller should be given a real shot at playing on the third line. I think he’s more physical than Pouliot, plays along the boards better, and checks more often. He can score on occasion, and should be taught to PK, to round out his game. Also let’s not forget he is a natural center playing the wing. The only way he will learn is being in the game, not on the bench.

  • Suit was right about MDZ not being at fault on that 2nd goal in Dallas.

    AV quote:

    “It’s all Brass (Derick Brassard), it has nothing to do with Del Zotto,” Vigneault said. “His read is the right one. The goaltender rims the puck, he’s got to keep the puck in, go down the wall and the F3 (forward three) is Brass, that’s his play. If he just goes right behind him, picks up the puck and throws it back in, instead he goes to the same man.”

  • Are you kidding me? Miller was playing on the 4th line while Pieface was playing with the 3rd and 1st line. Miller plays better and with heart than the other 2 even though I have nothing against Pouliot. Miller doesn’t get a chance because the coach doesn’t like the young people.

  • Its is difficult enough stopping the puck from getting out when it is being rimmed along the board at the best of times. Even more difficult when you are a left hander playing on the right side. For that very reason you never see McDonough or Staal on the right side. MDZ is out of place there too, but AV doesn’t really have any other option but put him there or bench him.

    If AV doesn’t think Miller is ready for the 3rd line wing position, then send JT down. Why let him waste away in the press box? Asham or Powe can be brought back up as the 13th forward.

    I would go with the hot hand and play Hank tonight, the Rangers are in a dogfight for a playoff spot and need to get some points.

  • I don’t like Pouliot because he tries only part of the time. Giving such a player ice time can encourage others to do the same. Yes, he’s better than Pyatt, but i’d rather see Pyatt in there. Miller needs more time in the AHL to become the player he can be (hopefully well above Pouliot and Pyatt).

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