Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rangers Prospect J.T. Miller Guaranteeing Himself A Spot On USA WJC Team?

The move by the New York Rangers to select J.T. Miller 15th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft has been questioned by many, but Miller is doing his best this week at Team USA’s National Junior Evaluation Camp.  Miller has been one of the standouts this week for Team USA by using his skating, strength and willingness to go the front of the net to have a consistent impact in each game.  Chris Peters at United States of Hockey has seen enough of Miller this week to consider him a virtual lock for the WJC team this year.
J.T. Miller – The one thing Miller has consistently done in the tournament is use his speed incredibly well. He’s strong in his skates and beats defensemen with his legs. The one thing he’ll have to avoid is penalty trouble, which he got into against Finland. That said, if he continues to wheel like this, it’s going to be impossible to leave him off the squad.
Miller making the WJC team would be an excellent thing for his development due to the extra games and the competition level he will face in the tournament.  More importantly than that, reading the reports on how Miller has played this week gives Rangers fans an even better idea of the type of game that Miller plays.  Questions about his upside in terms of skill will likely remain in the short-term, but the fact that he fits the Rangers mold of hard-working, relentless players only furthers the understanding of why he was the selection as opposed to some of the players considered to have more talent.  Miller appears to have the power forward mentality, which for the improvements the Rangers have made on the ice and in the system is something they have not truly developed to this point.  The hope is certainly that both Chris Kreider and Miller will fill that void in the near future.