New York's J.T. Miller (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
The emerging center is coming off his best NHL season yet and it certainly appears as though he's still got more to come in terms of ceiling. New York avoids arbitration by locking down Miller for two more seasons at a very reasonable rate.
Things are looking up for J.T. Miller and now the talented center has a new contract to show for it. The New York Rangers avoided an arbitration hearing with their young pivot by signing Miller to a two-year deal with an average annual value of $2.75 million. Who says the bridge deal is dead?
Miller will actually still be a restricted free agent when this new deal expires, which is great news for Rangers GM Jeff Gorton, who gets a bit more certainty in his future plans. Right now, the Blueshirts have a host of expensive veterans on their roster, but two seasons away the story could be different. Will Rick Nash still be around? What about Marc Staal or Dan Girardi? Heck, if New York is not a contender anymore in a couple seasons, what about Henrik Lundqvist? (I realize only Nash's contract ends by then, but y'know: crazy trades happen)
In Miller, Gorton has a rising asset on his hands. Not only was Miller named to Team North America's World Cup squad for this summer, but he also hit career highs in all major offensive categories. His star is on the ascent and as he becomes more firmly entrenched in New York, his role will surely increase.
And while $2.75 million is nothing to sniff at, Miller sure looks poised to cash in once this new deal expires. Right now, the Rangers are pretty snug in terms of the cap, with less than $10 million available and RFAs Chris Kreider, Kevin Hayes and Dylan McIlrath still to sign. Fitting all three is certainly doable, but Miller's pact helped out.
But if he continues to become more valuable in New York, that next contract is going to be his big payday. Everybody looks like a winner on this one.