New York Rangers: K’Andre Miller’s impressive start rewarded with first NHL goal

K'Andre Miller #79 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
K'Andre Miller #79 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

It was quite the night for K’Andre Miller on Tuesday as the rookie scored his first career NHL goal for the New York Rangers.

On what was another tough night for the New York Rangers as they dropped a tough 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center, there was a silver lining with K’Andre Miller being rewarded for what has been an impressive start to life in the National Hockey League.

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Selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Miller has been attracting plenty of hype for the last couple of years and is widely considered as one of the main jewels in the Rangers’ sparkling and loaded farm system. And, after putting together a hugely impressive Training Camp, the 21-year-old was included on the Opening Night spot for the Blueshirts and he hasn’t looked back since.

After tallying his first NHL point last week against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Miller has begun to establish himself as a real staple on the backend for the Rangers and his undoubted potential and incredibly high ceiling is there for all to see. Granted, he suffered a rough introduction to the NHL after being ruthlessly exposed in the Opening Night loss to the New York Islanders, but the blueliner has learned from that tough lesson and has become a better player for it.

K’Andre Miller flashes his high potential with impressive first goal

Miller is averaging 17:19 minutes of total ice time through six games, he’s been trusted with top minutes on the top paring with Jacob Trouba and he hasn’t looked out of his depth being matched up against the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Plus, Miller has already racked up eight hits and he’s rapidly proving that he’s built to flourish in the NHL right away.

His coming-out-party can be traced back to last week’s 4-3 Shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins when the left shot logged a career-high 21:17 of ice time, recorded his first NHL point and he also registered five hits, two shots, one takeaway and a blocked shot. Not a bad night’s work and it proved that Miller is ready and equipped to become a full-time defenseman in the National Hockey League.

However, K’Andre Miller’s crowning moment came last night with the blueliner scoring his first career NHL goal, and it was one hell of a beauty. With the game tied at 1-1 after Chris Kreider had struck first for the Rangers before rookie Dylan Cozens replied for the Buffalo Sabres on the power play, there was seconds remaining in the first period.

K'Andre Miller (79)
K’Andre Miller #79 of the New York Rangers. (Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images) /

Following good work by Colin Blackwell who retrieved the puck before sending it to the point, Miller was there waiting and he set himself before winding up and unleashing one hell of a one-timer to give the New York Rangers a one-goal lead. It was a sublime shot from Miller and his release from the point could prove to be quite the weapon for the Blueshirts both at even-strength and on the power play.

Alas, it proved to be in vain with Tobias Rieder making it a tied game on a breakaway before Jack Eichel‘s first goal of the year won the game for the Sabres, but Miller’s first goal in the National Hockey League will forever be a cherished moment for the rookie and it was well deserved given his impressive level of play through the first six games of the season.

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Overall, while the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Alexis Lafreniere has had a tough introduction to life in the NHL, although his time will come, the New York Rangers can be happy in the knowledge that they have a rising star in their rookie defenseman and K’Andre Miller is proving with every game that he has the makeup, the intangibles, the mentality and the skill set needed to be a star in this league and, with his first NHL goal now under his belt, the best is yet to come for the smooth-skating blueliner who is the future of this storied franchise.