Rangers Roundup: Cold Miller, Prospect Updates, and Captain Controversy?

JT Miller (MSG)

The Blueshirts will be heading to Arizona and Colorado to end 2016. Antti Raanta has already been named the starter with Henrik Lundqvist out with the flu. There should be no lineup changes from last game as well.

Now for the latest on the Rangers

Cold Miller

J.T. Miller has cooled off quite significantly over the last few weeks. After scoring 18 points in his first 22 games, Miller has scored only 3 points in his last 15. His lack of production and increased high risk plays that often lead to turnovers had Alain Vigneault reducing his ice time to send a message.

For the year, Miller was averaging over 16 minutes per game and it was reduced to just over 15 minutes for the last 2 games. It culminated with a 4th line demotion against Ottawa in the 3rd period. It was well deserved.

The NY Post reported, We’re working quite a bit with J.T. to improve some of his decisions with the puck. He’s got a tremendous amount of confidence in his ability and in himself, but sometimes the play on the ice demands the high-percentage play.” AV concluded that he was forcing plays and “It got to the point where we had to cut his ice time a little bit.”

The AV detractors are once again questioning the coach’s tactics and unfair treatment of younger players. They immediately cite AV’s continuous use of Dan Girardi as their basis for this claim. I once again need to remind you that sitting veterans does not teach them lessons, and is usually used for rest. On the other hand (right or wrong), benching or lessening a young player’s ice time can be a tried and true teaching method.

J.T. Miller is only 23, and will be just fine after this.

Captain Controversy?

Older fans will remember that when Messier left for Vancouver via free agency in 1997, there were 3 obvious choices to replace him as Captain. Wayne Gretzky, Brian Leetch, and Adam Graves were undoubtedly the biggest stars on Broadway, but who was best to lead.

Gretzky took himself out of the running early when he made it clear he just wanted to be one of the guys and not have the burden of leadership. That left it down to Leetch and Graves…both were great on ice leaders but only one was a vocal one.

The Rangers wanted to go with Leetch and his quiet non-confrontational style became an unmitigated disaster of Broadway. New York would go on a 7 season playoff drought and Leetch would be traded to Toronto during that final season.

Fast forward to 2016 and the Rangers once again have a quiet non-confrontational American-born defenseman as their Captain. Those of us who were spoiled watching Mark Messier lead the Blueshirts struggle with Ryan McDonagh‘s approach. It does reminds us all too much of Brian Leetch’s run as captain.

Enter in Derek Stepan, who finally had enough of watching his team play heartless hockey and decided to lace into them on the bench. Now mind you, Stepan did score twice but McDonagh added three assists. Yet, everyone pointed to what Stepan did on the bench as having the most significant impact.

Did the Rangers choose the right man for Captain? Vote in the poll below:

Prospect Update By Prospect Park

Read about Sean Day, Ryan Gropp and more here.

7 comments

  • It’s the same ole JT Miller. He has an offensive burst at one point during the season then disappears for the rest. Everyone stated last yr was a breakout year for him, really? Almost 40% of his goals came in a 8 game span. Where was he down the stretch last year? He was an unmitigated disaster in the playoffs last year, on,y Eric Staal was worse. But Ranger fans have come to expect that from him, 1 career playoff goal in nearly 30 games. It’s time for him to show up or ship him out. The rangers cannot continue to pay players who do not show up when the games matter most. Kevin Hayes was challenged this past off season and has responded, whatever the team said or did to him has to be tried on Miller. If he responds great, if not then there is no sense holding in to him. How many Rangers fans would have signed up at the beginning of the season Nick Holden nearly having the same amount of goals as Miller at this point doing the season. Can anyone remember a clutch goal by Miller? Some fans criticize Kreider for disappearing doing the season, but one thing about Kreider is when the stakes are high he is front and center. He’s 9th in rangers playoff goal scoring and already has had a highlight reel of clutch playoff goals.

    Regarding the capitancy, yes it was magical seeing a captain like Messier transform this organization. But not every captain can be an in your face brimstone and fire type of captain. My only question is did the team force the capitancy on McD or did the locker vote? The year the Rangers had their magical run to the finals McD was a man possessed and carried the team with his play on the ice. I have no problem w McD as captain and kudos for Step for,no pun intended, for stepping up at a critical point in a game. The assistant captains need to chip in as well. Kevin Lowe was just as an integral leader for the Oilers and Rangers.

  • Derek Stepan seems definitely more of a leader personality and has total range of Ranger’s experience to boot -from draft to veteran .Should put the C on his shoulder and make McDonagh assistant.

  • Never thought McD was the kinda guy to replace Callahan as ‘C’ just because hes a solid team guy doesnt make him captain material although he is an exvelllent team role model. Not a lot of fiery confident leaders here. I said go with 4 ‘A’s at the time. No captain and see who would emerge as a leader. MZA36 should be in the leadership mix

  • The player that should be the captain is the heart of the team Zuc. He leads by example McD is a really good dman but the player that gets everything going is Zuc. Do we not remember when Leetch became captain it was not his personality to handle that role. I don’t think anyone could argue the point that Zuc is the true leader on the ice.

  • Do not really see a Captain on this team. If it was a smaller market team then sure Zucc, Miller (too young maybe). NY is a different market.

  • We have had too many poor choices as captain. Jagr was forced into it. Good ole Kelly Kisio, Leetch could not handle it. Maloney was just a kid. Nash said dont pick me pick Mcdonough LOL. Need i say more. NY Rangers organization are what they are, far from perfect.

  • Need a emotional, physical, will fight if needed. Exceptional talent who has been here for a few years. No one like that exists on this roster. Can Messier make a comeback lol

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