When the Rangers hit the ice in the next couple of weeks, a player with plenty of momentum and a huge chance of making the Rangers opening night roster will be J.T. Miller. Physically mature and improving with every game he plays, Miller had an impressive World Junior’s, growing in importance with each game as the American team won gold in impressive fashion. With nine points in seven games and a +5 rating to boot, Miller enjoyed the WJC on an individual level in addition to soaking up team glory.
As previously discussed, players such as Chris Kreider– along with Miller – also represent the future of the Rangers, but a player such as Kreider may not be in form right now, while other younger players such as Christian Thomas or Ryan Bourque simply aren’t ready. However with every additional game throughout the WJC, Miller has started to look pro ready.
When the regular season opens the Rangers will want to get off to a quick start. While an ideal world would see Miller with more pro experience before arriving in New York, the former first round pick has an excellent opportunity to crack the Rangers line-up given his momentum from his time in Russia with Team USA. Miller will no doubt be full of confidence as he returns to America, will be desperate to hit the ice, and keep up his form and given his style would actually fit nicely in the Rangers system should he be deemed ready.
Miller would also be a nice story for the media. As a freshly anointed Team USA hero, making the red white and blue of the Rangers as a rookie would definitely be newsworthy. However despite the media potential it is his form that is the big reasons that find Miller with a solid chance to make the opening night roster.
John Tortorella and Glen Sather have shown they’re not afraid to throw in the kids if they think they’re ready (see Stepan, Derek and his impact with the hat trick against Buffalo). Given the varying status of other players in the organisation, Miller seems to tick many boxes ahead of the NHL’s return. In form, with competitive hockey under his belt and blessed with talent; it may be J.T. Miller’s time to shine on the big stage and sooner than many expected.