JT Miller has been in the NHL for 11 games and to me proven he belongs. After a hot start that saw him score two goals against the Islanders in just his second NHL game, Miller had a bit of a lull in his game, which was to be expected after likely playing on pure adrenaline after his surprising call-up. But the last two games he's picked up his battle level with a power play assist, seven shots on goal and four hits.
For a young player to overcome a bit of adversity so early in his career is a testament to his mental fortitude and an indication that the kid has what it takes to succeed in the NHL. Here's his coach…
"You watch him, he's making a difference. He makes some dumb plays. He doesn't know how to play when he's tired. That's a really weak spot of his game.He has to learn how to play when you're tired on the ice. You still have to get something done. But I like what he does He is sure of himself. He has the right type of confidence. He makes some mistakes, but these last two games when some guys flatten out as a young kid, he's only 19, when they flatten out and settle in, he's grabbed himself and has played well."
Speaking of Miller's confidence, here's what he said yesterday (via NY Post)…
“I’m up here for a reason. I’m going to do the things I do well and that’s all I can control. I’m just going to go out and play the way I can play. I’m going to do the things that make me successful and ultimately help the team. I just have to play hard every shift, not take anything for granted.”
…love the swagger this kid brings to the line-up. He's a talented player and he knows it. Someone mentioned in the comments section of last night's game recap that Miller's decision to play in the OHL over college seems to have had a positive effect on his game, which I 100% agree with. More talent and a much more physical style of play in the OHL. You can see he is a more complete player than Kreider who played his hockey at Boston College and at this point you have say Miller has jumped over Kreider as the Rangers most promising prospect/rookie.
…what's also helping Miller's game is that Tortorella's system is perfect for him. Speed, physicality and defense. Couldn't hand pick a better style for the youngster.