New York locked up defenseman K’Andre Miller for two more years Tuesday, with a bridge deal worth an AAV of $3.872M. With little Cap room left, it was generally expected that this woudl be a two year bridge deal, leading into a bigger payday for the young blueliner in a couple of years. At this cost, it leaves the Rangers with about $3M or so to sign their last remaining roster play Alexis Lafreniere, and leave a little space to cover for injuries and/or trades along the way.
Miller sees about a $3M increase in his salary, coming off his Entry Level Contract that paid him $925K. With 43 points last season, and second in ice-time amongst Ranger defenseman, you can certatinly argue that it’s fair value.
While the points and offense were there, Miller’s defensive play still has some kinks to work out, and the combination of he and captain Jacob Trouba had an uneven performance over the season. This year – his fourth – will see him play for his third NHL coach in Peter Laviolette, and there’s some reason to suggest that his style of play might suit the new coach’s game plan a little more than under Gerard Gallant.
Particularly important will be cleaning up some of the defensive end plays, particularly with the puck, where Miller and his defensive partner looked a little too casual at times, leading to turn overs.
At 6-5 with his skating and puck carrying abilities, there’s a lot to like there, and if he can clean up his game a little, he could end up being a top tier defenseman in the league.