Saturday, June 25, 2011

J.T. Miller Fits System/Mold Of What Rangers Want To Be

Once again the New York rangers and Gordie Clark went off the board to take the player they wanted with their first round selection.  Just because J.T. Miller was not connected to the Rangers by the experts does not mean it was a bad pick.  The act that players that were connected or said to be of better quality were still on the board does not make it a bad selection either.  Gordie Clark has shown enough in his year’s running the New York Rangers drafts that when he selects a guy that he wants, that fits our system, you trust his judgment.
J.T. Miller checks in at 6-foot-1, 200-pounds but can still add more to his frame.  He uses that size to play an energetic and physical game, though reports to say he will have to add strength, as most draftees do.   Miller will be yet another player thast fits the tough, physical, hard-working style the team has been taking on over the past few years.  He is willing to go to the dirty areas and has the ability to play all three forward positions, which will give the Rangers excellent flexibility with him down the line.  The Rangers are showing over and over again that the makeup of the individual is just as important to them as the talent level.  They want smart hockey players, who work hard and will play on both ends of the ice.  Miller is certainly that..
Per Steve Zipay of Newsday, Gordie Clark had the following to say about why they chose Miller at 15.
"...there was no one (on the board) that had all the qualities that JT had. There could be someone who will score more goals, there could be somebody that's going to be a faster skater, but if you want to put size with skating with character with grit with work ethic with playmaking ability and scoring ability, no one had all those qualities in their game. He had them all."
"he's like a Dubi (Brandon Dubinsky), Mike Richards. Every shift he expends everything he's got...He started coming up in a lot of the rankings from April because he was really one of the best players in the tournament in April. ...He validated what we had seen all year."
The mistake many of us, including myself, make in looking at who the Rangers might select in the draft is looking through video or scouting reports and looking for the most skilled players that might be on the board in that spot.  The Rangers certainly value skill, but the value complete players even more than pure skill and they want players that are willing to work.  If J.T. Miller turns into Brandon Dubinsky or Mike Richards, then we will have another time where the fans were uneasy on draft night, but when time went by Gordie Clark was once again proven right.