Now in his fifth season with the New York Rangers, J.T. Miller has become the talk of Rangerstown- and for all the right reasons.In a previous Elite Sports NY article, the line of Kevin Hayes, J.T. Miller and Michael Grabner received praise on how they have been a big factor in the Rangers’ 2016-17 success thus far.
While the game is a team effort, Miller’s unselfish play has been vital to the game-by-game successes of the squad. In the past five games alone, J.T. has provided several players with the extra pass that eventually would lead to the red goal light flashing with the traditional Rangers GOALLLLL chant echoing through the rafters.
In this 5-game span, Miller has tallied two goals and seven assists.
Most players, especially young ones, would take the shot even when contested. But most players are not J.T. Miller. Instead, he provides the team a new perspective on how to move the puck that will result in another point on the scoreboard.
Last season was a career year for Miller, who earned 43 points on 22 goals and 21 assists. This season, he has already exceeded his previous career highs in assists (26) and points (44) and is four goals from tying his personal best. Barring injury, he could shatter all of his own stats.
The Rangers have completed roughly 66% of their season and have 28 remaining regular season games. Should Miller’s production continue across that stretch, his projected stat line reads like this: 27-28G / 39-40A / 66-68pts.
One way to look at that impact is to compare him to another Rangers playmaker, who spends most of his time in the top-six: Mats Zuccarello.
Zuccarello gets a lot of attention for his points and assists, yet he has barely broken the 60-point barrier, has only done it once and it took him until he was 28-years-old to do that. Miller is likely to tease 70 and he’s still only 23.
These two clips demonstrate how this young forward displays the patience and awareness of an NHL veteran:
The Rangers signed Miller to a 2 year, $5.5 million dollar deal this past off-season.
Rangers sign J.T. Miller to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million https://t.co/lgRNe59Oqn
— New York Post Sports (@nypostsports) July 13, 2016
With him becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2018 at the age of 25, the Rangers may have to lock him up long term and pay him the big bucks, just as long as he keeps this productive play alive.
We will see how the rest of the season pans out, but one thing is certain, J.T. Miller has forced the Rangers to ditch the idea that he’s a “sometimes” player and is here to leave his mark in New York.