By Denis Gorman
There was no time like the first installment of the Hudson River Rumble for J.T. Miller and Darroll Powe to make their Blueshirt debuts.
Miller and Powe, the two newest Rangers, dressed for last night’s game against the Devils at the Prudential Center.
“I’m excited to be here,” Powe said after the early skate at the Rock. He and Nick Palmieri were acquired in a trade from the Wild for left wing Mike Rupp, while Miller and Brandon Mashinter were called up from AHL Connecticut. Both transactions took place Monday.
Powe is 27 and had played in 294 games with the Wild and Flyers in his career. He is expected to provide speed and a physical element along with versatility at all forward positions. Powe has 227 blocked shots and 662 hits in five seasons in Minnesota and Philadelphia.
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“Initially it was a little bit of a surprise but when I heard I was coming to the Rangers, it’s a great organization, a great team,” Powe said. “I try to make [shot-blocking] a part of my game. Anything I can do to help keep pucks out of our net. As a role player, that’s what you need to do.”
Miller was the 15th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has recorded 20 points (eight goals and 12 assists) in 37 games. Miller was also a key contributor to the gold-medal winning U.S. World Junior Hockey Championship team, totaling nine points (two goals and seven assists) and a plus-five rating in seven games.
“I watched him during the lockout. I watched him in the World Juniors. I think his game has really grown. [He] had a really good tournament, [and] has become more consistent in Hartford,” head coach John Tortorella said of Miller. “It’s what we’ve seen of him and the reports we’ve gotten from [Connecticut Whale head coach] Kenny [Gernander] as we’ve gone through their season. Especially through the junior tournament and when he’s come back and played.
“We talked to him. When we give him just a little bit of our foundation of how we play; we try to take some pressure off of him. You need to get out of his way. Whoever plays tonight, if they’re kids, you need to get out of their way and let them play.”
Long a believer in having youth on a team, Tortorella wants to see what the new blood can do.
“I’m really interested in the youth. They’ve played half a year down [in Connecticut] or so. We’ve gotten good reports on them so we’ll see,” Tortorella said at the morning skate. “We don’t want to hurt the process with these kids — [Chris] Kreider included — and so we want to take a look. If things happen in a good way for them we’ll keep playing them. We’ll coach them. We certainly are always thinking of the process in the development and development in the right way, so they build a foundation the correct way.”
Palmieri, 23, was sent to Connecticut on Monday. The organization announced Tuesday afternoon that Mashinter had been sent down.
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.