The New York Rangers are in an absolute tail spin and it’s all hands on deck now that J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider have been recalled. New York’s level of play has been so poor that it’s already ended one career and forced a veteran with more than 750 games to his credit to the minors.
Those moves didn’t shake the Rangers—at least not bad enough to get them to play well. Line juggling hasn’t worked. Starting backups and benching stars hasn’t worked. With coach Alain Vigneault searching for answers that he never had to come up with while leading the Vancouver Canucks, he’s turned to a pair of young players with little NHL experience.
J.T. Miller has been in New York since Rick Nash’s injury, and is being utilized as a top-six forward right now. In his first game after his recall, the Ohio native only played for 10 minutes. He saw his ice time jump to over 15 minutes when the Rangers took on the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, and he managed three shots on goal with the extra time.
Nothing earth shattering at this point, but it’s clear that Vigneault is looking for a jolt and he’s going to the kids for the pick up.
Despite the line changes, the Rangers were still shut out by the rival Devils and looked incredibly passive in the process. Kreider has been recalled now according to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com, and New York is rostering almost every one of their top prospects, hoping for them to see them through this storm.
Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and Carl Hagelin are all on the IR, so the opportunity is there for the taking for the youngsters. If anyone on this team starts to score goals, they’re going to get top-line minutes. A hot streak from Kreider right now would make fans and pundits forget all about how bad he was in 2013.
The Rangers need help, and they need help from within. No help is on the way from the outside. If anything, the ax will continue to fall until this club looks mildly competitive out on the ice. A ton of responsibility and power has suddenly is in the hands of Kreider and Miller, and it will be interesting to see how they respond to the challenge.