New York – Youth be served.
At least that’s what John Tortorella hopes as he tries to take a page from last year’s playbook, when he rode some Whale call-ups into a winning streak for his struggling New York Rangers.
“It’s so important for the organization to keep filling in with kids,” the coach said “Cap world, youth and enthusiasm. (Carl) Hagelin comes up here and changes our team last year. I’m not sure where it goes, but both (Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller) have contributed here during the first couple of games.”
So sure, first Hagelin and now Miller. The No. 15 overall pick in 2011 is hoping to stick over his 10 day free look and by scoring two goals in the Rangers 4-1 win over the Islanders, he may have a shot.
You see, the Rangers have 10 days to decide if the 19 year-old is worth burning a year of NHL eligibility, but so far, so good and the team likes what it sees.
“He’s got pretty good size,” said Rangers captain Ryan Callahan. “He can hold onto pucks. Obviously he has a tremendous shot, we saw that tonight we used his speed there on the second goal. The amount of poise he has for his first two games, I think that sticks out for you.”
But for Miller, this was just one step in what can be a great career. He won the gold in the 2010 Under 17 championship playing for team USA and he jumped to the pros last season, helping Connecticut in the playoffs, registering an assist in eight games.
And now he is showing New York why Glen Sather flat out refused to trade him in the off-season for Rick Nash.
He’s just that good.
And Miller even impressed the King, who was not too shabby himself tonight, stopping 27 of 28 shots tonight.
“It’s great,” Henrik Lundqvist said. “We need everybody to do good stuff but obviously a young kid like that to come in – and not only his goals. I think he plays so mature out there making good decisions with the puck. It definitely brings some energy to the group. Guys come in and do well right away.”
Yup, and it helps the rest of the team. Marion Gaborik was on the ball with the Rangers second goal and his first in five games. and Ryan McDonough scored the empty netter at the end to ice the match.
But the story was Miller, who seemed to relish his time on Broadway.
I’m just trying to stay on an even keel here,” he modestly said. “Obviously it was nice for me but even better we got the win on home ice and a big bounce back from the last game. We have to keep looking forward.”
And not down. Miller seems like he will take whatever happens in stride, even if the Rangers decide to send him down to Hartford after his 10 day look is up.
But right now, he is making that decision very, very tough.
Just the way Tortorella likes it.
Yes, youth be served.