Earlier this month, New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault was asked about the future of J.T. Miller in regards to staying in the NHL as opposed to being demoted to the AHL:
For a young player like that, they need to play a certain amount of minutes. Now is it better to play eight minutes in the National Hockey League or 20 in the American (Hockey) League? I would say to you that the right answer to that is each player is different. You’ve just got to figure out what’s best for each situation
Since then, the Rangers have gotten healthier and players like star forward Rick Nash and NHL veteran Dominic Moore have returned from injury and essentially bumped Miller into being a healthy scratch the past four games. Prior to that, Miller saw his time on ice go from nearly 15 minutes a game all the way down to 5 minutes.
When he was getting the precious playing time he needed, Miller’s name didn’t appear on the score sheet as much as Vigneault and every other person associated with the Rangers for that matter would have liked. Miller’s one goal and one assist aren’t indicative of the work he was putting in while he was on the ice.
The long awaited move to Hartford happened today.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 26, 2013
Certainly playing in the NHL and gaining that experience would be invaluable to his future in the league. However, I feel as though his development into a possible top six forward was being limited due to his lack of playing time. This move to Hartford, although not what he would have wanted, will help him immensely since he will now have the opportunity to player some serious minutes in all sorts of situations that he wouldn’t have had if he stayed.
This will be Miller’s second stint in Hartford this season. In his prior three games with the Wolf Pack this season, J.T. notched four goals and was a +2.
It isn’t known how long he will be staying in the AHL this time, but he should certainly take advantage of it and refine his game so the that the next time he is called up to the Rangers it will be for good.
John Is a contributor with The Hockey Writers covering the Buffalo Sabres. He is also a Senior Writer and Editor at MetsMerizedOnline.