Early into the 2020-21 season, New York Rangers fans have been able to get a glimpse of just how good K’Andre Miller is, as he has suited up in all 11 of their games so far. Had the 2020-21 AHL season began at the same time as the NHL’s, there is a good chance the Blueshirts coaching staff may have made the decision to send the 21-year-old defenseman to Hartford and allow him to adjust to professional hockey with the Wolf Pack. However, with the current pandemic situation, he was able to start out playing with the Rangers and has looked like he belongs so far, scoring a goal and four helpers to this point.
Head Coach David Quinn has shown confidence in the rookie defenseman early on, as Miller has averaged 19:02 minutes per game thus far. While playing this good early on has been great for the Rangers, it isn’t completely unexpected given just how talented Miller is. Standing at a hulking six-foot-five, 210 pounds, the Rangers drafted him 22nd overall at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. After being drafted, he went on to play two seasons with the University of Wisconsin, where he posted a combined 40 points in 62 games. K’Andre Miller has had big potential for years now and is making the most out of that potential so far this season.
3. Nils Lundkvist
K’Andre Miller wasn’t the only impressive defenseman the Rangers drafted in the First-Round of the 2018 Draft, as they also selected Nils Lundkvist at 28th overall. At the time he was drafted, the talented Swede had just come off a rookie season for Lulea HF in the SHL. He has continued to play with Lulea to this point, and really hit his stride offensively last season, putting up 11 goals and 31 points in 45 games. He also represented Team Sweden for a second straight year at the World Juniors and lit it up with eight points in seven games.
As mentioned previously, Lundkvist is still playing with Lulea and has suited up for 40 games with them this season. His 10 goals on the season is tied for first on his team, while his 24 points is good enough for third. Like both Lauri Pajuniemi and Zac Jones, Lundkvist remains unsigned by the Rangers. Management needs to get a deal worked out with him soon as he has top pairing potential.