Which other prospects could one day join Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh and the rest of the young Rangers on Broadway?
Blueshirt Bulletin will be tracking the progress of the next wave of youngsters as they compete and develop this season in the Canadian junior leagues, college and abroad.
Below is a compilation of scouting reports, buzz and analysis by scouts and hockey experts on J.T. Miller
We’ll update this as the season unfolds with the latest news at the very bottom of this post.
Drafted: 2011 – 1st Round (15th Overall)
Team: USA, U18
2009-2010 stats: 15g, 16a, 46gp, 79PIM (USA, U17)
2010-2011 stats: 11g, 26a, 48gp, 78PIM
NHL.com Draft Profile
Blueshirts United interview Traverse City 9/14/11
Highlight Reel J.T. Miller drops the gloves in the Traverse City Tournament.
Highlight Reel Miller scores the first goal of the game against the Stars in Traverse City.
Scouting report entering the season from Blueshirt Bulletin
staff writer and author of The
Prospect Park, Jess Rubenstein:
“Got to say when the smoke cleared we wound up finding that
we liked Miller more than we had expected to. Honestly it was hard to let go of
wanting Tyler Biggs but we understand why Miller a lot better today than we did
on draft day. Miller has an excellent
upside and really he was one of the few players who was not intimidated by the
Sabres. We liked his goal in the first period as it was nothing fancy; he
skated to a spot where he wanted to shoot and gave Carl Hagelin the target for
a pass. The shot was nothing special
just a set up for a one-timer which right there earns points for using KISS
(keep it simple stupid). The one thing we tell Miller is to take the
NHL timetable he thinks he is on and toss it away. Miller will make the NHL quicker if he stops
trying to rush himself up the ladder.” (9/17/11)
What the critics are saying:
The Hockey News : “A two-way performer with skill and hockey sense, Miller has contributed to Team USA’s offense no matter where the competition comes from. The left winger has tallied his fair share of points against NCAA schools, international teams and the United States League, where he is tied for third in NTDP scoring with 10 points in 12 games.” (12/21/10)
The Hockey News yearbook: “Good work ethic, goes to net on a consistent basis.”
The Scouting Report: “Miller is a very strong, powerful skater and he uses his speed to help him both offensively and defensively. He’s an extremely hard worker and has the ability to get to loose pucks as well as separate the puck from the carrier seemingly at will. He’s not the most creative player on the ice but he does have the ability to make the easy play. Miller’s passing and shooting abilities are at the very least solid and consistent but he does show flashes at times of high end abilities in this regard. The knock on Miller was that when you saw him play and admired his skills, you wondered why he did not produce the numbers to match those skills. At times, Miller’s decision making with the puck was cause to question his hockey sense and offensive awareness. He seemed a safe bet to develop into a third line center who could match up against the opposition’s top line. A prospect for sure but the first round may have been a stretch.” (6/8/11)
Red Line Report : “Miller doesn't get the love he deserves, but is a strong bull of a lad who can impact a game in a number of ways. He plays a hard-driving style and can overpower defenders in the corners, winning puck battles and heading straight to net. His playmaking ability is underrated and he unleashes a heavy shot while barreling down the wing.” (6/8/11)
ESPN.com: Positives: Shot and finishing, skating, physical play. Negatives: Inconsistency. (6/20/11)
Bruins 2011 Draft Watch: “The Rangers got a skilled centerman in J.T. Miller, but we're concerned with his up-and-down season. He pulled it together at the right team for Team USA in the U-18s, but his overall performance was uneven.” (6/30/11)
Hockey Prospectus : “Miller played extremely well at the camp, and was the USA's best forward. His skating and overall speed looked above-average, he made some nice defensive plays, and his physical play was very good along the walls and when pressuring defenders on the forecheck. He also made a lot of above-average plays with the puck in regards to his puck-handling and distribution of the puck. Some NHL sources see top-end upside with Miller and while I'm not sure I would go that far, I think I may have to upgrade my projection of Miller as he certainly has top six skills. My main knocks on Miller have been his sense and decision-making, but at the camp both of those aspects actually looked above-average.” – Team USA, U-20 Camp (9/2/11)
Blueshirt Banter : “Although Miller had a pretty bad outing his first game, I think he got better as the tournament went on, and was great in the final game. Miller truly showed what he could bring to the table in the championship game, making a difference almost everywhere he went. He scored a goal, threw out a few great passes and hit everything that moved. His overall game is what drew the Rangers to him, and he showed it in flashes during Traverse City. Now it's time for him to find consistency, but for his first tournament, I loved what I saw from him.” – Traverse City Tournament (9/15/11)
Former coach Ron Rolston (National Team Development Program) via NHL.com : “He's a really good hockey player, a lot of tools and a bright future. He's come a long way in the two years I had him as far as maturity. This will be his next step, getting with an organization and working with their leadership to continue his maturity and development. He's strong and can skate, plays hard. The Rangers have a lot there to work with.” (9/14/11)
Hockey's Future NY Ranger blog : “J.T. Miller did exactly what you would hope for from an 18 year old. He was a little shaky at first and got better and better as the week went along. His play in this tournament showed that he deserved to be picked in the first round of this summer’s draft.” (9/14/11)
Coach John Tortorella: “He had a good camp, but he needs to go right back and play (in junior). I like the way he carried himself. I thought he had the right kind of arrogance coming into the big camp for a young kid. He grew as the camp wore on." (9/25/11)
The Prospect Park: “Miller was somehow able to get from New York City to Plymouth Michigan in time to be able to play for the Plymouth Whalers in their home opener.
Score 1 for Miller as just getting back and ready to play spoke about his character as he could have taken the night off…People say that Miller is a goal scorer but in the games we have watched it has been his playmaking skills which have stood out. Against the poor Erie Otters this was no match as the Whalers broke open the game with 4 unanswered goals in the 3rd period to win 6-2.
Miller also showed he was not afraid to fight as he took on Erie's Johnny McGuire early in the 2nd period. We admire Miller's willingness to stand up for his teammates but we want him to make fighting a very small part of his game.” (9/25/11)
Hockey's Future: “About to join the OHL Plymouth Whalers, JT Miller is a hard-nosed forward, who likes to play a north-south game. A member of the NTDP last season, Miller originally planned to attend University of North Dakota. However, given what the Rangers feel may be his fairly quick readiness for the NHL, Miller chose to play in the CHL this season. An excellent two-way forward, Miller works very hard down low and along the boards. He showed more offensive upside than was expected while at development camp and in Traverse City this summer, and was one of the best forwards among the prospects in training camp this fall. Miller has no problem crashing the net, but has good enough hands to also pass the puck to teammates in the offensive zone on the rush. Additionally, unlike most 18 year olds in the CHL this season, because Miller, was drafted out of the NTDP, he will be eligible for AHL play after one season of junior hockey.” (9/27/11)
Hockey's Future NY Ranger blog: I have also been very impressed with the play of JT Miller since he was drafted. From what I heard, he was one of the better players on the ice this summer in Lake Placid, then he had an excellent Traverse City, and was impressive in training camp. He has done everything right, and, if he continues on this trajectory, he will be spending only one season in the CHL before he plays in Connecticut. He could be a pro shortly after his 19th birthday, and the Rangers have not seen this from a first round pick in a long time." (9/28/11)
PlymouthWhalers.com: “Miller clicked immediately on a line with Mitchell Heard and Tom Wilson in the Whalers’ 6-2 win over Erie last Saturday. The line created and sustained offensive pressure deep in the Erie zone, beating defenders to the puck all game long… Miller comes to Plymouth as advertised – a power forward who plays with skill and grit.” (9/27/11)
The Prospect Park: “If there is any prospect who is doing a very good job of making fans out of his critics then it has to be the Ranger's 2011 first round pick. On draft day, Miller's selection was questioned by just about everyone (including us) but since then JT Miller's efforts have helped validate the selection the Rangers made.
Miller made sure his first career OHL goal was a statement goal as the native of Pittsburgh PA scored at 11:45 of the 3rd period to help his Plymouth Whalers earn a 3-2 win over the Ottawa 67's.
Miller who was named the game's 2nd star as he also had an assist on Plymouth's first goal of the game too. The Miller goal (which can be found right here) is exactly what we were talking about the other day about KISS.
Miller found a spot where he wanted to shoot from, put himself into a great spot for his teammate to hit with a pass then just fired the puck in the same motion. No chance for the defense to react, the goalie was not fully set so the puck was able to sneak in the 5 hole.
Those are the kinds of goals that win games which this one did and exactly why a prospect will always get points from us for this kind of play. Miller now is 1-2-3 in 2 games with the Whalers who have also won 2 straight.” (10/1/11)
The Prospect Park: “At the beginning of October, we said that we wanted to keep an eye on JT Miller (NYR 2011 1st) because of the schedule his Plymouth Whalers were going to be play. Miller and the Whalers were going to play 2 sets of 3 games in 4 nights and 2 sets of 3 games in 2.5-3 days.
For us it was going to be a test of Miller's conditioning more than anything else because part of his development is dealing with these kinds of schedules and the travel associated with it. What we were not expecting was Miller's play especially on the 3rd game of each set.
On Sunday afternoon, Miller had his best game of the season going 2-2-4 +4 to help his Plymouth Whalers defeat the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors 8-4. Miller the game's first star was just flat out good especially considering his Whalers were shut out on Saturday night in Niagara then had to turn around and play an afternoon game in Mississauga.
Miller got his day and the Whalers going with his 5th goal of the season just 3:32 into the game to give the Whalers a 1-0 lead. Then in the 2nd period after Majors had scored twice to take the lead, Miller earn a secondary assist to help the Whalers tie the game at 2-2.
The Majors answered back to retake the lead at 3-2 but Miller set up Jamie Devane for the tying goal at 15:38 of the 2nd. In the 3rd with the score 6-4 in favor of the Whalers, Miller scored his 6th goal and 2nd of the game when he scored an empty net goal for the Whaler's 7th goal and ended any hope for the Majors.
Miller at least for the moment has taken over the Ranger prospect lead in goals (6) and tied for overall points (14) but what really has stood out is Miller has now played his best hockey in the 3rd game of the weekend sets for 2 straight weeks.” (10/23/11)
Buzzing the Net: “Is this an early look of the high-octane offence the Whalers were touted to have? Miller had two goals and two assists to pace Plymouth to an 8-4 interconference win over the Mississauga-St. Michael's Majors. The New York Rangers first-round pick created havoc around the Majors net all afternoon, twice figuring in goals that erased early Mississauga leads. Miller and draft-season forward Tom Wilson were also productive despite losing their centre in the second period when Mitchell Heard got a checking-from-behind major and game misconduct for knocking Toronto Maple Leafs first-round pick Stuart Percy out of the game.” (10/23/11)
The Prospect Park: “JT Miller (2011 1st) we have to admit was a prospect that did not show up on our radar as a serious contender for the Ranger's first round pick which is our way of saying we are learning about who he is and how he plays as we go along.
The best way to describe watching Miller is he is one of those "so that is why Gordie Clark liked him" kind of prospects as you learn something new every time we watch him.
We also took note that Miller does not back down from anyone including Islander prospects as he got into a slashing duel with Islander prospect Andrey Pedan of Guelph.
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.
We also can not forget that Miller has been pretty consistent with points in 14 out of 19 games. For us now the thing we want to watch is his conditioning as by our count Miller has already played in 4 sets of 3 games in 2.5-3 days, 2 sets of 3 in 4 days and that number will grow as the season progresses (he plays 3 in 3 this weekend again).” (11/15/11)
Hockey's Future: “New York's first round selection in the 2011 Entry Draft, already has fans buzzing about his potential. Miller has excellent size and is very strong on the puck. Becoming a more offensive player in the CHL this season, Miller has the potential to be a first to second line power forward in the NHL. He is expected to play this one season of major junior hockey prior to becoming a professional next fall.” (11/15/11)
SNYRangersBlog: “Miller has 11 goals and 17 assists this season in 22 games. He ranks 14th in the OHL in scoring. He has 11 points during a five game point streak. Miller keeps getting better and better. This strong start should get him a spot on Team USA for the World Juniors in late December.” (11/18/11)
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