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Rangers Sign K’Andre Miller to Entry-Level Contract

K’Andre Miller signed a three-year, entry-level contract worth $2.75 million with the Rangers. However, Miller is not guaranteed to win a spot with stiff competition coming from the Rangers prospect pool. 

On Saturday, the New York Rangers signed 2018 first-round draft-pick K’Andre Miller to a three-year, entry-level contract. The 20-year-old’s contract if for three years and has an annual cap-hit of $925,000.

Miller declined to sign with the Rangers after the 2018 NHL Draft. Instead, he chose to attend the University of Wisconsin. K’Andre Miller started out as a forward in high school. Since then, he has been learning to become a defenseman, and has done a pretty good job of it.

This past year he notched seven goals and 11 assists. Miller has played two full seasons under former Ranger Tony Granato at the University of Wisconsin. Miller played for the USA at the 2019 and 2020 World Junior Championships and had two assists in five games at the 2020 World Juniors.

This is another great decision made by Rangers GM Jeff Gorton. Next year, defensemen Marc Staal and Brendan Smith will be in the final years of their contracts. By signing the 6’4”, 205-pound Miller for the next three years, the Rangers will at least have a player who can replace the physical presence of Marc Staal, once his contract runs out in 2021.

The Ranger Blue-Line in 2021

If the Rangers say goodbye to both Brendan Smith and Marc Staal that leaves two spots open on the blue-line for a right-handed and left-handed d-man. Two seasons from now, K’Andre Miller will probably compete with Nils Lundkvist and Matthew Robertson for a spot on the Rangers defense. Adam Fox has proved this season that a rookie coming into the NHL with college experience can thrive.

Lundkvist is a right-handed d-man with good hands. The 19-year-old has 31 points in 45 games for HF Lulea in Sweden. Robertson possesses the same height as Miller, and is only four pounds lighter. He skates very well and is a bit like Brady Skjei in how he rushes the puck up ice and looks to pass before shooting. Robertson had a good year in the Western Hockey League, putting up 13-34-47.

The Rangers do not have defensemen prospects that are necessarily locks to make it to the NHL next season or the season after that. Nevertheless, the Rangers have many young and talented defensemen to choose from and add to the talented group they already have.

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Anthony has been a sportswriter at In The Zone since Sept. 2019. He graduated from Montclair State, where he was assistant Editor of the student newspaper's sports section. He also co-hosts a sports-themed radio show on the campus station, WMSC 90.3 FM, which was recently named #1 college radio station in the nation.
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