Rangers Re-Sign Miller to Perfect Contract

At this time one year ago, the Rangers had three young player that they (and their fans) hoped would take the next step during the 2015-16 season. They were Chris Kreider, J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes. All three were due new contracts the following summer and needed to earn them. If you had asked anyone during the summer of 2015 who they thought might not be getting one, most wouldn’t have hesitated to say Miller. No one saw him being in the situation he is now.

Which brings me to today’s news. Late this afternoon, the Rangers randomly tweeted the following:

To say it was a surprise would be an understatement. I didn’t expect Miller to end up in arbitration but also didn’t expect him to be the first of the four re-signed. Then came the terms – two years, $2.75 million per year. To me, this is the perfect contract.

Why?

Well first of all, let’s all remember where we were last year with Miller. Many didn’t even expect him to still be on the team. The fact that he is now one of the ones everyone considered a “must sign” means he had a good season. One good season. He deserved a raise (and got a very nice one) but I wasn’t about to give him a long term one.

Second, with the deal being only two years, that means the Rangers get one more chance to re-sign him as a RFA. If they had added a third year, that would’ve brought him right to unrestricted free agency, something most teams do not like to do.

Third, simply put this is a bridge deal. I understand a lot of fans don’t like them anymore but they’re necessary. Because if you think the cap is bad now with 30 year olds overpaid, imagine what it would be like if every 20 year old got $6+ million per year for 6-7 years. I’d say we would be lucky if half of them actually earned that contract over the course of it.

Is there a chance in two years the Rangers will regret not signing Miller long term? Of course. There’s also a chance he’s gone by then or we’re thankful this deal was only two years. No one knows what the future holds. (For example, there was a chance Mats Zuccarello never stepped on the ice for the current deal he signed.) We all want Miller to be a permanent fixture in the top six but that’s still no guarantee yet. Do you want him making $3-4+ million as a third line winger? I don’t. But that’s why bridge contracts exist and need to exist. Not every young player deserves a long term deal just because their entry level contract is up. Plus, if we’re being honest, the Rangers could use the extra money right now to re-sign their other three RFAs.

And with that, I’ll say I’m thrilled with this deal. Yes the Rangers still need to do more this summer but this is a good start. Welcome back Millsy!

 

(Photo: Melissa Andus)

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