What’s Wrong With K’Andre Miller?

K'Andre Miller skating for the New York Rangers
Bryan Woolston | Credit: AP

K’Andre Miller of the New York Rangers plays his cards close to the vest. He’s not overly animated during games, doesn’t make a big splash in interviews, and generally keeps a low public profile. That muddles the picture when his game appears to be off, as it has been recently. He is still capable of jaw-dropping defensive plays, including one against Sharks forward (and former Ranger) Anthony Duclair on January 23rd.

Miller looked out of position on the play, making a hard cut backward towards the net, while Duclair looked like he had a clear path to the goal mouth. Miller sprung forward at just the right moment, took advantage of his long reach, and knocked the puck harmlessly to the corner. He made it look easy like he often does.

But there have been some mysterious misplays this season, too. Giveaways at the blue line, poor decisions with the puck in his own end, and a tentativeness with the puck on his stick that hasn’t been there in the past. In the Rangers’ last game before the all-star break on Saturday in Ottawa, Miller seemingly handed the Senators’ Claude Giroux the puck, which he dropped to Brady Tkachuk to score the first goal. On the second goal, Chychrun was not his man, but he was caught in no man’s land, regardless. Both plays are endemic of Miller’s game of late.

It all leaves one wondering, what is wrong with Miller? Is he injured? He hasn’t missed any time, so that seems unlikely. Is he unhappy? The demeanor mentioned above makes it impossible to know. But his game seems off, and that should concern the Rangers, who are legitimately in the conversation for a Stanley Cup for the first time in a long time.

Other stars on the team and veteran leaders do the heavy lifting when it comes to leadership and take the majority of the media opportunities. But the team, for which depth has been a playoff Achilles’ heel the past few years, will need Miller at his best to go as far as they can this spring. Perhaps it is all part of the larger Ranger funk of the last month. Maybe everything is fine with Miller, and he will snap back over the coming weeks and months. But it sure doesn’t look like everything is fine, and that is a big concern.

2 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With K’Andre Miller?

  1. There is nothing WRONG with KM. His game is just getting exposed. The 6’5″ and 215 lb. defenseman is just soft. Put together a highlight film of checks against the board, nada, nothing. That vast wing span of his is unique, and, at times jaw dropping. , yet not a survival skill against the best hockey payers in the world.

    1. I think soft is too strong. While he doesn’t play the big, bruising hit game of Jacob Trouba, he is solid positionally and strong on his stick in front of the net. As a second-pair D-man on a playoff contender, he has more than held his own and eaten up a ton of minutes for the Rangers. Against that baseline, he has indeed been off as of late.

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