While leading the team with seven hits against the physical Boston Bruins is nothing to sneeze at, it's safe to say J.T. Miller had his worst game as a Rangers last night by not registering a shot on goal and going 2-for-9 on faceoffs.
So now that the rookie's performance has slipped a little the last two games and with only one game to go before his entry level contract kicks in, the Rangers have a pretty tough decision on their hands. Which John Tortorella addressed today (via Bergen Record)...
“The biggest thing for the organization when you’re dealing with such a young player is just keep on assessing. If we keep on putting him in situations where there’s been some struggles in his game and he keeps on struggling and confidence comes into play and just the process gets a little fouled up, then we have to think about other things to do. But just because he has a few shifts that he doesn’t play well, we’re not there yet. We think he’s going to be a really good player, we’re just not sure how quickly it’s going to come so that’s our situation as an organization to watch that.”
Torts added that the team will continue to discuss their options regarding Miller and that despite his off night he still can do a lot to help the Rangers.
Miller admitted that last night wasn't his best game.
...while Miller was definitely less noticeable, it's hard to criticize a 19-year old playing against one of the hottest teams in the NHL and still finding a way to contribute even if it wasn't in the scoring sheet. Which is what makes this kid so special. Instead of hanging his head, he found a way to help his team win anyway he could.
...and for that reason, I'm 100% in favor of the Rangers keeping this kid around. Will there be some bumps along the way? Sure, but I think they'll be worth it in the end. Seriously, would you rather have Miller or Boyle in the line-up?
Speaking of Brian Boyle, Tortorella hinted that he might return to the line-up tomorrow night against the Islanders....
“I have to make decisions. It’s not so much about Brian Boyle. Brian Boyle is a good player, we all know that. He’s pushed himself and grown into being a good player. I still feel that about Brian. You have to make decisions, I don’t think Brian was playing that well at that particular time, so that’s where we’re at. Quite honestly I don’t think we played that well last night, and a number of guys didn’t so we’ll see where the lineup is tomorrow.”
...i'm sorry there's no way Torts can change up the line-up in the middle of their longest winning streak of the season. Once they lose, sure. But why mess with success?
I would be much more inclined to keep him here if he had been absolutely tearing it up on CT. He was 8G 12A in 37 games. I don't want him to be the next Manny Malhotra.
I think JT has shown that he can play at this level and certainly brings more physicality and playmaking than Boyle ever did! Although he and Kreider were quiet last night they played well enough to make the 3rd and 4th lines viable which is incredible for us. The BIG line of Ritchie and Gabby the ghost were also of limited effect and nobody's talking about sending them down... I think its great to see the parity in the lines and on a separate note amazing to see Nashty in action!
In terms of faceoffs, what most people dont recognize is that Pautrice Bergeron has the best percentage at the dot in the NHL. The Bruins as a team are very good at faceoffs. That is a tall task to ask of a rookie, and I don't think Brad Richards won that many more. Are we considering sending him down because since Miller has come up there is no question of which player has been worse.
Miller had has "worst" game against one of the best teams in the league and people are ready to ship him out? They should just commit to him and move on. He is the least of their worries.
@TheNYRBlog had a few decent checks, can't say same for Kreider, he really needs to stop playing scared and get rt into it. College boy's r?
I agree that you don't want to change the lineups in the middle of a winning streak but you do have to consider the kid's development. Stapling him to the bench is not good for his development and he's hot headed which could be even worse. No one is talking about the absence of Kreider the past 2 games. I say bench him before miller and give Boyler another shot. He is bubbling over with passion and you know he will come out like a bull when he's finally given a shot.
I think kreider's injury may still be lingering. Get Boyle back together with Cally and Steps and tell him point blank. You're the biggest guy on the ice 99% of the time, if you don't hit hard and knock some people on their ass, you're gonna be watching from the press box again.
@kj_rangers You know that Boyle and Stepan are both centers, right?
you must be joking. you're really suggesting breaking up the hagelin-stepan-nash line? they have been our most consistent and successful line the past few games.
not that boyle is a 2nd line player by any means but if torts wanted to really send a message he would scratch richards for a game, who has been invisible for the most part.
I thought the rule was only about his entry level contract kicking in, not about whether he can be recalled (or not recalled). Once he plays the 6 games, his first year of the contract is burned...and that is what they need to decide on--whether they feel it is worth having him play in the NHL this year and use up 1 of the 3 years.
anybody know the rules regarding sending him down? i know with a typical junior player, they can't get sent back to their junior team, but Miller wasnt drafted out of juniors and was already playing in the AHL. Can we send him down now and recall him later if we need to? The 5 games rule is just on his entry level contract starting right?
@cb1 -- that's my main question too ... what's to stop us from calling him back up if we don't keep up here after the 5 games?
@cb1 Not mad ad that. Leveled headed thinking. THOUGH...not much of the season is left — if they're winning they're winning...
@KevinDeLury @AG_Blue In that case, I would send him back to CT. The team has played well with him in the lineup, but it's not like he's the straw that stirs the drink. Let him play 20 min a night with the Whale and round out his game. Let Boyle prove he can be effective. If in a month or two Torts wants him back, we can call him up.
Even though he's only 19, I think he has a rare compete level and a pretty good attitude that will make him able to take the bumps and bruises where other young guys could not. I'm okay with whatever the organization decides -- not knowing all the particulars regarding his contract and the 5 game rule, etc -- but I'm definitely leaning towards keep him.
I believe Miller has earned the right to stay. If they decide to send him down though, I wouldn't be surprised to see Mashinter come up and possibly take his spot. I don't know if Masher has the same speed as Miller or even if it's close, but I don't see him as a liability whenever he comes up. Plus, Masher could bring a bit of toughness to the team. As for Boyle...I don't really know.
I know you don't like this but trade him for defense. Right handed shot with a bomb please! You could see it on our power plays that we needed a guy with a bomb. Every goal Boston scored last night was because somebody smashed it from the blue line and someone cleaned up the garbage in front.
@GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG -- You're talking about Miller, right? We do have a way of getting excited about young prospects ...
@GLENsatherVSglennDANZIG He's not going anywhere...I agree with you on the defense part, but I wouldn't trade this kid for that
I say he stays....Like u said some bumps in the road is to b expected but IMO he changes the dynamic of the team......With him in the lineup it seems to balance out the team, plus more speed....If he does get sent down then I can see the Rangers making some sort of move to get more balance and b ready to make a cup run...Lets hope for the best