Stretches of increased responsibility led to a 13-point improvement for J.T. Miller last season, as he set a new career best with 56 points despite failing to see increases in goals (steady at 22) or shots (down ever so slightly to 132 from 135) while playing all 82 games for the second straight campaign. At 24, he still has room to grow, especially if he can command increased power-play duties now that former No. 1 center Derek Stepan has been dispatched to Arizona in an offseason trade. Miller has already established a reputation for timely goals, as a full quarter of his tallies from the past two seasons (11 of 44) have been of the game-winning variety, and he netted three shorthanded markers last year despite only seeing a modest 1:15 of ice time per game in those situations. Whether he plays center or wing or both, Miller is guaranteed to see plenty of opportunities in the Rangers' top-six mix this season, which should provide value to his fantasy owners in just about any format. he'll also be playing for his next contract, adding extra motivation.
Miller will start out as a center in training camp, the New York Daily News reports. It hasn't been uncommon for the young forward to see time at both center and wing early on in his career, and with the Blueshirts thin down the middle and thick with wingers, the best thing for the team is probably to have Miller serve as the third-line center behind Mika Zibanejad and Kevin Hayes. However, if that's indeed the case, it'll limit Miller's ice time (and thus his fantasy impact), although that'll be mitigated somewhat by what should be a steady power-play workload.
Miller ended the 2016-17 campaign with 22 goals, 34 assists and a plus-17 rating while playing in all 82 games. Asked to take on a bigger role at several times this season, Miller largely answered the call, but he managed just 12 points and 34 shots over the regular season's last 28 games, then a meager three assists scattered over the Rangers' 12 playoff contests. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old is truly coming into his own as an NHLer, and he'll surely be asked to do more next year -- especially on the power play, where this season's seven points marked a career high.
Miller tallied an assist and registered four PIM in Thursday's Game 4 win over the Senators. Miller only received 13:19 of ice time while skating on the Rangers' fourth line, but he also logged 2:39 of playing time on the man advantage, making him a viable option for owners looking for value plays in daily contests. The 24-year-old forward has picked up assists in back-to-back games, so he'll be looking to extend his scoring streak in Saturday's pivotal Game 5.
Miller collected two assists, three shots and plus-2 rating during Friday's shootout loss to Pittsburgh. The 24-year-old forward scored twice against San Jose last time out, so this could be the beginning of a late-season offensive push from Miller. He's posted a career-high 56 points through 77 games this season with an impressive plus-19 rating. However, Miller doesn't move the needle significantly in the shots (130), PIM (21) or hits columns (99), so that can be a slight drag on his upside in some fantasy settings. Additionally, with a crowded forward corps in New York, the 50- to 60-point range could prove to be his offensive ceiling. That's still fantasy relevant offensive production, of course.
Miller scored a pair of goals -- one on the power play -- in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Sharks on Tuesday. His 22 goals tie last year's career high, but interestingly enough, he's yet to exceed two power-play goals in a season. Through 77 games, the 24-year-old is also carrying new career marks in assists (32), points (54), plus-minus (plus-17), power-play points (seven) and ice time (16:25), so it's safe to say he's been a boon to his fantasy owners.
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Last 7 Games
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