When the New York Rangers selected J.T. Miller 15th overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, many, including myself, were unsure of the quality of that selection. Players with bigger name recognition and reportedly higher upside were still on the board when the Rangers took Miller. Thus far Miller is doing everything he can to quell the doubters and reward the Rangers for their faith in his abilities. Miller got better and better as training camp wore on and that has continued since reporting to the Plymouth Whalers (OHL).
In 21 games for Whalers Miller has 11 goals and 14 assists while playing to a plus-four rating. Miller has more multi-point games (6) then scoreless efforts thus far (5). That is the kind of impact and consistency that you want to see from a prospect at the Junior level. Lots of players can have a huge night occasionally, but don’t back those performances up with production game in and game out.
Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park has some early thoughts on Miller through his first 21 games in Juniors…
And what can we say we have learned about Miller after 21 games? He is much stronger physically than he looks as we have watched him go up against players his size and bigger (he is 6'1 200 according to NYR).
Miller has an extremely fast shot release that if he is set up ready to shoot is almost impossible to stop if he is on target. Miller keeps his game simple, no trick shots, no trying for the highlight reel stuff as he has his fundamentals down pat.
Miller is also very much a team player which we like because he adapts to those he is playing with not waiting on them adapting to him. Miller is also a much harder worker than anyone has given him credit for.
The combination of toughness, hard work and playing a simple game makes J.T. Miller a perfect fit for the system that John Tortorella wants the Rangers to play. The fact that is the fit for the system is one of the understated aspects of the Rangers rebuilding process because the Rangers will take the player with less hype and name recognition to get the type of player they want. Miller brings consistency, and flexibility to a lineup and combining that with his skills could make him a threat to be on Broadway in short order.