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Sunday, April 5, 2015

J.T. Miller's Rising [Price Tag]

   J.T. Miller played in 15 games during all of October, November & December earlier this season. After failing to outclass fellow Blueshirt bluechips Kevin Hayes & Anthony Duclair for 3rd line forwardship in the 1st half of the season... Miller has recently resurged his priority in the NY Rangers regular lineup. In fact, Miller played in 15 games during the month of March alone!

   Earlier in the season, it seemed Miller's cost of a new contract this summer would not be much higher than his $777,000 qualifying offer. In fact as little as a few months ago, there was no reason to think Miller would receive anything outside the $800,000-900,000 range on a 1-or-2-year deal. But with Miller suddenly becoming a relevant contributor to the Metropolitan Division champions (including a game-winning-assist & game-winning-goal vs. Winnipeg & Minnesota last week)... the question is now blooming: how much will J.T. Miller cost to keep this summer?

   Since he is coming off of his entry-level contract, Miller does not have arbitration rights. Glen Sather has historically signed young forwards in this scenario to two-year 'bridge' contracts. So, in the interest of getting a feel for Miller's possible costs, I assembled 5 players whom could be noted as 'comparable.'

   These 5 players all:

   - Are players signed to a 2-year bridge deal following their entry-level-contract
   - All in their early 20's
   - All, like Miller, had no right to salary arbitration when signing their new contract

   Let's look at the data:

   Miller has less years of age, career games, & career points-per-game than the average. Miller's pedigree is the only above-average characteristic.

   So: is a 2-year $1.7 million/year contract something J.T. Miller can realistically be offered? Sather has a propensity to lowball his helpless restricted free agents... What would Miller be worth on a 1-year deal? $1.5 million?

   The playoffs can make-or-break these numbers. Is it inconceivable for every postseason game-winning-goal scored by Miller to equate to a $25,000 increase to the figures we are currently discussing?

   If the chart is any indicator... then 2.45% of the current $69 million salary cap would be $1.69 million/year.

   Stay tuned...

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