Cage Match: JT Miller vs. Rickard Rakell

Rick Roos

2016-02-17

Who is the better fantasy hockey player: JT Miller or Rickard Rakell?

This week’s battle revisits the first round of the 2011 entry draft, pitting J.T. Miller (the 15th selection) against Rickard Rakell (30th). Both have landed on the radars of a lot more poolies this season, which begs the question of who projects to be the better fantasy player in the short and long term. You’ve come to the right place for insight – Cage Match starts now!

Career Path and Contract Status

Miller, now 22, cut his teeth in the USHL for two seasons before being drafted. Following his selection by the Rangers, Miller headed to the OHL, where he posted 62 points in 61 games in his one and only campaign. Over the next three seasons, Miller essentially split time between the AHL (101 total games) and NHL (114 games), with much better production in the minors (81 points) than in the Big Apple (33 points). And despite only posting 23 points in 58 NHL games last season, Miller was showing signs of better things to come, including a stretch of eight points in 10 games spanning the end of March to the beginning of April. This season, he’s relishing his increased role and has emerged as a valued sniper for the Rangers.

Despite being from Sweden, Rakell, also 22, spent his teens in the OHL. There, like Miller, he had almost exactly point per output, although in his case it was in three seasons (151 points in 149 games). Rakell rode the AHL to NHL shuttle for 2013-14, doing well in the minors but not finding success in his time with Anaheim. Nevertheless, he managed to stick with Anaheim for virtually all of 2014-15, tallying a decent 31 points in 71 games. This season, he’s in the NHL to stay, and has seemingly found a home in the Anaheim top six.

According to Cap Friendly, and not surprisingly in view of their identical draft year and round, both players are on the final season of their entry-level contracts, each counting $0.894M against the cap. Their only salary-related difference is Rakell’s cap hit is the same as his AAV, while Miller’s AAV was a bit higher at $1.244M. That, in turn, might mean Miller will expect a bigger raise on his next deal.

Ice Time

Season

Total Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

PP Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

SH Ice Time per game (rank among team’s forwards)

2015-16

14:37 (J.T.M) – 7th

16:04 (R.R) – 5th

1:23 (J.T.M) – 7th

2:19 (R.R) – 4th

0:00 (J.T.M)

0:06 (R.R) – 9