New York Rangers rookie defenseman K’Andre Miller is standing tall among the defensemen in his first training camp with the club.
Miller practiced with the team this past summer while the team prepared for their qualifying round against the Carolina Hurricanes, but he was not eligible to be placed on the playoff roster. He left a good impression with the coaching staff in July and brought that work ethic with him to training camp looking for a spot on the 23 man roster.
“I thought K’Andre Miller was really good tonight,” Quinn said after the scrimmage. “He just moves so well, he takes up so much space, he’s got such a long reach, he closes on people quickly. His puck decisions, to me, have really been the surprise to all of us. We knew he made some good decisions, but to adapt as quickly as he has so far — and again, let’s keep it in check, it’s bubble practices and now it’s training camp — but he’s certainly shown a lot of things you look for in a defenseman,”
New York Post Larry Brooks reported how excited head coach David Quinn was following Thursday nights 6-1 Team B win over Team A.
Quinn elaborated on what he saw from Miller prior to the team going into the Toronto bubble last summer.
“I’m sure that gave him a lot of confidence coming into training camp this year,” Quinn said. “We were disappointed we weren’t able to bring him with us [to the bubble], but right from the get-go when he got here last year, you could tell this guy’s got a lot of things that you like. Obviously we drafted him high and we thought very highly of him when we took him. He certainly hasn’t disappointed, that’s for sure.”
Miller played on the left side and was paired with Brendan Smith. The 20-year-old is battling for a left defenseman position along with Jack Johnson, Libor Hajek, and Anthony Bitetto.
The rookie still has plenty of work in front of him in order to make it out of camp. Hajek, Johnson, and Bitetto were all on the losing team Thursday night but that was just one game. Quinn and his staff will be looking to see if Miller can remain consistent while the team continues to scrimmage against each other with no preseason games scheduled due to Covid protocols.
The practices and exhibition games will gain more intensity with less than a week to go before the regular season begins.
Miller most certainly is on the taxi squad, but he is looking to hear his name announced, in an empty arena, unfortunately, next Thursday night when the Blueshirts host the New York Islanders.
The first-round pick in the 2018 NHL entry draft by the Rangers played his college hockey at Wisconsin under former Ranger Tony Granato and signed his entry-level contract during the pandemic shutdown last year.
Exhibition Game Recap
Team Blue (group B) defeated Team White (group A) be a score of 6-1. the Blue team was lead on the score sheet by their first line with Brett Howden, filling in for Mika Zibanejad, recording two points (one goal) along with Chris Kreider (two goals) and Pavel Buchnevich (one goal, two points).
Philip Di Giuseppe and Filip Chytil, assisted by Alexi Lafreniere, had the other two goals for Team Blue. Ryan Strome had the lone goal for Team White which was assisted by Artemi Panarin.