J.T. Miller is becoming one of the Rangers' go-to shooters on the man advantage

J.T. Miller is becoming one of the Rangers’ go-to shooters on the man advantage

Other than the infamous “Potvin Sucks” chant, there’s not much that’s more annoying at MSG than the cries for players to “SHOOT THE PUCK!” on the power play.

Sure, shooting the puck is usually a great idea – as Wayne Gretzky once said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – but blasting a slapper from the point into the shin pads of an opposing forward when you’re the last line of defense is generally inadvisable.

The objective of any good power play is to create opportunities to shoot the puck when you have the potential for a real scoring opportunity and then finish. That comes from passing the puck to get both the goaltender and penalty killers moving out of position.

The Rangers have plenty of players to whom that comes easy, but that’s where the problems start. The team’s shots per 60 minutes on the power play have steadily increased in the Alain Vigneault era, but they are off to a very slow start this season with too many players looking to pass first.

A big part of the struggle has been the departure of Martin St. Louis, who was regularly set up for his patented one-timer from the dot. His retirement left a lot of the shooting responsibility vacated, but finding someone to fill that role has been easier said than done.

Among the club’s best offensive players, Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan and Derick Brassard have all unleashed wicked wristers at times – the problem is that none of those guys is usually eager to let fly.

The team’s natural goal scorers mostly produce in different situations. Though Rick Nash usually ends up as the unit’s main shooter, his true strength is tight around the net where he can use his body, as is Chris Kreider’s when he’s not generating off the rush.

At the points, Keith Yandle is willing to compromise and shoot, but he’s a very unique weapon that really is at his best distributing. Dan Boyle’s performance has been up and down, but oftentimes he’s been one of few that are unashamed to shoot in volume.

Recently J.T. Miller has been thrust into the role of triggerman, which is an interesting development. Miller is definitely not hesitant to fire, and does possess an above average shot. If he can succeed, it could really help balance the special teams unit as a whole. Otherwise there’s likely to be a lot of inconsistency until one of the team’s many unselfish players can alter his approach.


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