Brian Leetch, Brad Park, Ryan McDonagh, and Ron Greschner are all names that most Rangers fans associate with winning and being the #1 defensemen on the Rangers. The question on everyone’s mind…can K’Andre Miller become a #1 Defenseman”?
Who is K’Andre Miller
Miller is a 21-year-old, 6’5″ offensive defenseman for the New York Rangers and an impressive one at that. Due to The Rangers acquiring the pick from the Senators, who got the pick from the Penguins after a trade for former Ranger, Derick Brassard, Miller was a 2018 first-round pick. K’Andre Miller grew up playing forward. In high school, Miller switched to defense, giving him a unique skill set. This gives him full perspective on both positions.
K’Andre’s Unique Skills
Being 6’5, Miller has a height advantage on most of the NHL. In addition to his size, is his skill set. Miller is a fantastic skater for someone his size. He moves the puck exceptionally well and he is incredible on both ends of the ice having a +/- rating of 7. This is the best on the team and tied for 7th best in the NHL, this, as a rookie. The young defenseman has 4 points (1G 3A) in 11 games played and has looked incredible in all the games never skipping a beat and often facing other team’s top players.
Miller is fantastic with his sticking and his height gives him a advantage on the backcheck. He is able to swat away passes and pick off pucks. Not only is Miller good at breaking up the rush, he also clears the puck out of his zone very well. Miller uses his size in his zone by pinching players on the boards and clearing in front of the net.
His Rookie Season
Miller has 4 points in in 11 games. Labeled as an offensive defenseman, he should have around 7 points (2G 5A). Not the most concerning stat since he is a rookie, he should be able to translate his play by this time next season. Millers pre-draft comparison was a Morgan Riley type player who is quick on his feet and great on both ends. After watching him play this year, he looks more like a Chris Pronger who was more defensive-minded than Morgan Riley with similar numbers. Of Course, the Rangers and their fans would be thrilled to have a player of either caliber.
The Defenseman Competition
The competition for the #1 defenseman spot on the Rangers is not much for Miller, however, it is there. Adam Fox has proven himself to be the #1 blueliner on the Rangers for the last two seasons, and most fans would agree. Now with the departure of elite puck-moving defenseman Tony Deangelo, the competition is even less. Adam Fox is the only competition for the #1 spot. Although, with Fox as a right-handed shot and Miller with a left, they can coexist with the right coach.
The answer to the question “Can K’Andre Miller Be A #1 Defenseman”? The simple answer is yes. Miller has shown he is elite on both ends of the ice. He moves the puck well, breaks up plays, and all around is showing signs of not going anywhere. Consequently, he will not face much competition for a top spot on the left side, and all around has just shown all signs of being elite. Now he needs to refine his offensive game a little bit better and keep up his great play.