What should Vigneault do with the bottom two lines?

Bobby Bevilacqua

jt miller 12-20

JT Miller has been a much improved player since his return, However, he was scratched in favor of Lee Stempniak. There is controversy over who Vigneault should be playing on a daily basis. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

In the Rangers win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday, VIgneault reinserted Lee Stempniak back into the lineup, as he had finally recovered from the mumps. However, he sat one of the Rangers hottest scorers; JT Miller.

Many fans, critics, and Rangers reporters were not happy with the decision to remove Miller, who has four goals and an assist since returning to the Blueshirts.

Early on in the season, Lee Stempniak was one of the Rangers better players. He was scoring, creating offense, and contributing to the forecheck and on defense.

Recently, his production has slowed down. Stempniak’s last goal came against the Flyers on November 29th, and it was an empty netter. He also has three assists in the last seven games.

When JT Miller was recalled, he made an immediate impact, scoring in his first game back with the Blueshirts. In his 10 games, he has five points, and has played both wing positions as well as center, filling in wherever needed.

Miller was playing some of the best hockey of his career, and had loads of confidence, especially due to the fact that he was contributing and fitting in with the team.

The other complaint that people had is that Tanner Glass remained in the lineup instead of JT Miller. Glass has been a mainstay on the fourth line this season, and has played in 28 of the Rangers game this season.

tanner glass shooting

Tanner Glass remained in the Rangers lineup over JT Miller, which rubbed some fans and critics the wrong way. However, many people have the wrong perception about what kind of player that Tanner Glass is.


Here is my opinion. JT Miller deserves to be an everyday play, and has earned it with his recent play and his versatility. Miller should be an everyday player on the third line, where he can continue to grow and provide more scoring for the line.

Lee Stempniak did not play bad on Saturday, it’s just that Miller has shown more versatility and a good scoring touch lately.

The other thing that I don’t understand is people’s perception of Tanner Glass. It seems as if most people expect him to put up 30+ points this season. That is not Glass’ style of play, and it never has been.

Glass is a physical player, which was very evident on Saturday against the Devils. Glass is a fourth line grinder who plays well defensively and can pick up the occasional goal or assist.

Vigneault is very familiar with Glass, who was on the Vancouver Canucks team that he took to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. That season, Glass had three goals and seven assists, with no points in the postseason.

Vigneault is not expecting Glass to score a ton of goals, or be a huge offensive contributor for the team. Vigneault wants him to play physically, kill penalties, and play well defensively. And lately, he has done exactly that. Glass has been playing some of his best hockey of the season lately, and is doing exactly what Vigneault wants him to do.

Yes, putting Stempniak on the fourth line may add more scoring ability, but Glass has been doing a serviceable job lately. He also has been more involved in the offensive game lately as well. Who knows, maybe Glass will net a goal or pick up an assist or two.

Lee Stempniak 10-14

Lee Stempniak has been a solid player for the Rangers, but it may be time to let JT Miller be an everyday player as the third line right winger. Photo courtesy of MSG Photos.


Bottom line, Vigneault knows what he is doing. He doesn’t want Stempniak to rot in the press box as a healthy scratch, but JT Miller deserves to be an everyday player with Stempniak used as a spare.


Posted on December 29, 2014, in In the Crease and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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