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New York Rangers 2011 First-Round Draft Pick J.T. Miller Impresses in First NHL Start

February 7th, 2013 at 12:19 AM
By PJ Foti

Despite the New York Rangers losing 3-1 Tuesday night vs. the New Jersey Devils, the play of rookie J.T. Miller had to excite the Rangers' brass.

If it wasn't for Martin Brodeur, the Ranger's 2011 first-round draft pick (15th overall) would've had his first career point in his first ever NHL game.

While on the power play, yes…Miller was on the ice for the Rangers' power play as head coach John Tortorella looked for any kind of spark, he made a pass from the point to fellow rookie Chris Kreider who found Marc Staal all alone on the weak side for what should've been an easy, equalizing goal.

Brodeur, however, had other plans and stopped Staal's shot cold with his right pad, and keeping Miller off the score sheet. Although the try didn't lead to a goal, the power play experience was valuable for the 19-year-old.

“That helps a ton actually,” Miller said. “I kind of feed off some of the things I do by having the puck on my stick and making plays and just to get some touches early, that was big for the game and gave me some confidence to make some more patient plays throughout the game.”

More importantly, Miller showed that he wasn't phased by being on the ice in a rivalry game, and his play picked up as the game went on. Although he may have had some jitters early on — whiffing at a puck on his first shift — he eventually calmed down and got two shots on goal in 14:25 of ice time.

He even earned a call-up from the fourth line.

“I thought Miller was hard on the puck, did some really good things," Tortorella said.

He went onto say that both Miller and Kreider would likely  take some people’s jobs because of the “tentative” play of other forwards.

Toward the end of the game, the two were on a line together with Brad Richards centering, and Miller was on the ice for Kreider's goal in the third period giving him a plus-1 for his efforts.

Although the team didn't play so great in the loss, Miller seemed to show up to play looking to take advantage of his stint in the Big Apple. He can play four more games before being sent back to Hartford without the team burning the first year of his entry-level contract, but after one game, Miller has shown he's here to stay.

Tags: Brad Richards, Chris Kreider, Hockey, J.T. Miller, John Tortorella, Marc Staal, Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils, New York, New York Rangers, NHL

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