24-Year-Old Center – New York Rangers
J.T. Miller Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, team-friendly contract for 2.75 million dollars per year in July of 2016.
Miller recorded a power-play goal and added two assists during Tuesday's 5-4 overtime loss to Pittsburgh.
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J.T. Miller: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
For parts of last season Ė especially while Rick Nash was on IR Ė Miller was the Rangersí best player, but he flagged down the stretch and was largely invisible during the teamís first-round playoff loss to the Penguins. That said, he still improved dramatically on his 2014-15 campaign, setting new personal marks with 22 goals, 21 assists and a plus-10 rating, and thereís reason to believe Millerís development will continue in his age-23 campaign. The No. 15 overall pick in 2011 operated at nearly a point-per-game pace over his last 59 AHL contests, and he clearly has the size, the skill and the intangibles to develop into an above-average NHL player. Miller will, however, have competition for a top-six role, as the Rangers are deep at all the forward positions; that uncertainty is the biggest limitation on his fantasy value as the season approaches.
He may not be the flashiest player out there, but Miller's lunch-pail mentality has endeared him to the Rangers and landed him in a top-six role during last year's playoff run. However, despite a strong track record of scoring in the minors, the 2011 first-round pick may not be ready to stick on the top two lines this year, considering the Rangers' depth. He'll need to find a way to replicate his minor-leauge scoring, as he picked up 21 goals and 58 points in 58 games for AHL Hartford over the last two seasons, but has only 29 points in 88 NHL games during the same span. He's on a two-way contract this year, so Miller's going to have to earn his place in the Rangers' somewhat crowded forward ranks.
If any Rangers forward could fill the void left by summer departures Brad Richards and Benoit Pouliot, itís the teamís first-round pick from 2011. Ever since Millerís two-goal performance in his second NHL game two seasons ago, the hype machine for the 21-year-old has been on overdrive. Since that time, Miller has traveled a familiar path back and forth between New York and AHL Hartford. Although Miller has managed just three goals in 58 NHL games since the aforementioned two-goal debut, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward has showed great maturation over time, responding to criticism from head coach Alain Vigneault by logging 43 points in 41 games with Harford last season. The window for dynasty owners has well passed, but annual re-drafters in deep formats should consider Miller as a possible late-round sleeper choice.
After crashing the scene with a two-goal effort in just his second NHL game against the rival Islanders, Miller spent most of the season battling a nagging wrist injury. Once he was healthy enough to get back in the Rangers' lineup, Miller was held quiet, totaling just two goals and two assists in 26 games last season. Nonetheless, it's noteworthy the 20-year-old Miller managed eight goals, 15 assists and 29 penalty minutes in 42 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack last season. His willingness to get involved in scrappy play leaves a good taste within the organizational brass, so the question begs, can new head coach Alain Vigneault's style of play make him not only the wild card in a core of Rangers' forwards who didn't hit their offensive upside, but possibly a sleeper in waiting at an FA pool near you? We think so -- and so should fantasy owners in most formats.
The 19-year-old winger spent most of last season with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL before a brief stint with the AHL's Connecticut Whale; he definitely possesses offensive upside. In the OHL, Miller posted 62 points in 61 games before being added to the Rangers' playoff roster. While he'll likely spend most of the season in the AHL, Miller's worth a look if he opens the year with the Blueshirts. Remember his name in keeper leagues.