Following last night’s scrimmage, David Quinn said that he thought “K’Andre Miller was really good tonight.” (NYR)
Miller skated on the left side of Brendan Smith, as he has through most of training camp. (NYR)
When asked more about Miller and how he practiced with the Rangers prior to their series with Carolina, Quinn said “I’m sure that gave him a lot of confidence coming into training camp this year. I thought he played with confidence in the bubble, we were disappointed we weren’t able to bring him with us. Right from the get-go, when he got here last year, you could tell ‘wow, this guy has a lot of things that you like.’ Obviously we drafted him high and thought very highly of him when we took him and he certainly hasn’t disappointed, that is for sure.” (NYR)
When asked if Miller was playing his way into a spot in the lineup, Quinn said “yes he is. He moves so well, takes up so much space, has such a long reach, closes on people quickly. His puck decisions, to me, have really been a 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 was bubble practices and now training camp, but, he has certainly shown a lot of things that you look for in a defenseman.” (NYR)
Miller signed with the Rangers last spring following his sophomore season at Wisconsin.
Jeff Gorton, at the start of training camp, said of Miller “I think he has a great chance. We are all excited about what he has been showing, his commitment this offseason has been great, he has been here a long time training, working, skating. We are excited to see how he looks. It’s been pretty well publicized how he looked prior to us leaving for the bubble, for him to have the offseason he’s had and now come to a big league camp, albeit short, we are excited to see him with NHL players. He’s got a great chance and we are looking forward to seeing him.”
John Davidson has raved about Miller, saying, after the Rangers lost to Carolina, “I know that in our training camp prior to going to Toronto, K’Andre Miller was outstanding, I mean outstanding and that for me was really something special.”
Davidson said at the end of November, “K’Andre Miller for instance. Will he make the team? I can tell you this much, when he came to the club before we went to Toronto, we practiced at home for a couple of weeks and boy, his first day he was nervous and you could see it, but after that first day he was really, really, really good. He’s going to have a chance to make our team, and if he can’t, we will get him somewhere to develop, keep on him, that is the way it goes.”
Davidson said at the start of training camp, “we are excited about K’Andre Miller with the way he played prior to the bubble and in talking to a lot of the people who have seen K’Andre work this summer, there is a maturity aspect there that is going in the proper direction.”
Following those practices in the summer, Quinn said of Miller “I think he has gotten more comfortable, you could see the nerves early on but he’s acclimated himself and played with an awful lot of confidence, kept things simple. You see the physical tools that he has, he’s a special physical specimen and a guy that understands what he is capable of doing. I love the fact that he didn’t try to do too much, he let the game come to him, he did a good job defending. I love the plays he was making in small areas, quick turnovers he made the right play, just a lot of good things from him over the last two weeks.”
Quinn also mentioned recently that Miller, a left hand shot, could also play on the right side.
Adam Rotter: With no exhibition games and limited video and access to what has been going on during training camp, the first many of us will see of Miller will be when he takes his first shift against the Islanders on Thursday. That said, just because he may play opening night or the first few games, doesn’t mean he will be in the lineup all season. Filip Chytil, of course, had the reverse last year and started in Hartford before playing nearly the rest of the year with the Rangers. It will also be interesting, and this is also dependent on if Tony DeAngelo’s move to the left works, if the Rangers try Miller on the right side at some point, maybe with Libor Hajek. In any situation, Miller is here and is the first in a line of many defensive draft picks that could be coming in the next few years.