Prospect Watch: Miller Time

October 19, 2011, by

He had a good camp and now he’s truly settling in to his OHL rookie campaign. JT Miller scored 2 goals against Sarnia on Saturday night as he played his most impressive game of the young season, offensively speaking. Miller has 9 points in 9 games to begin the year which is no mean feat for the youngster as his Plymouth team has begun the season winning just four of their first 10 games. You may have heard of the name sitting right behind Miller on team scoring: Andy Bathgate. If Miller can show offensive consistency all season Miller will keep his name in the immediate discussion for the professional ranks next season. It will be interesting to see whether Miller has any kind of college wall in junior as the OHL season is similar in length to the pros.

Miller may have left college for the junior circuit but two Ranger prospects are still making waves in college. While Chris Kreider is garnering a lot of attention for his solid start (rightly so) Danny Hobbs has kept pace with the BC winger as both players have 5 points in their first four games. Both players are among offensive leaders nationally. Hobbs’ numbers however may be more impressive on one hand as he has his 5 points in just 2 games however Kreider’s level of competition has been tougher. Kreider however seems to have a case of Rangeritis as he already has 10 penalty minutes on the season, a number he’d do well to keep as low as possible.

Prospect Quick Hits:

  • As we mentioned last week (before the bandwagon got rolling….) Jesper Fasth has been enjoying an exceptional start to his campaign in the SEL. How good? With his 11 points in 11 games to start the year Fasth (a 20 year old in the senior league) is 7th overall in league scoring. With a game winner and a power play goal to his credit, Fasth is getting goals in a variety of situations. America bound next year? At this rate, very likely.
  • Peter Čerešňák has had a solid start to the year for his OHL Petes side. With 5 points (1+4) and a +4 in his first 9 games the big defenseman seems to be settling in well to Canadian Junior. He’ll be an interesting one to follow throughout the year as he and Yogan look to lead the Petes.
  • Camp try outs doing well? He may not have been with the Rangers long but TJ Foster has been in great form for the WHL Oil Kings of Edmonton. He has 11 points in 11 games as he looks to earn another look from a big club. Maybe the Rangers will look at Foster again?
  • Scott Stajcer has had a rough start (rust?) back in the OHL. In his first two games Stajcer has two losses, an inflated GAA of 4.50 and a save percentage of just .859; Stajcer will be hoping to get back on track as he looks to stay relevant in the organisation. It’s hard not to think that Stajcer’s and Chad Johnson’s futures are closely entwined this season.
  • Boone Jenner is leading his club but Christian Thomas is slowly heating up. The Oshawa General has started scoring with more regularity and has now hit 7 points (4 goals) in 10 games. It’ll be hard to replicate last year given his start but as many people have said it’s not just about numbers for Thomas this season.

We’ll look in more detail throughout the next week or so at one or two of the prospects making some noise this season. The pipeline is still full folks.  


  1. John says:

    Miller never actually played t ND, he played for the NTDP and they play a pretty rigorous schedule, the college wall shouldn’t apply.

  2. Sioux-per-man says:

    Miller only played 40 some games total last year, so its closer to a college schedule. They play some games vs USHL teams, and Division I, and the international tournaments.

    Not sure about that game. It was nowhere near the level of compition of the Fighting Sioux vs Boston College. Kudo’s to Kreider. (Miller would have had everything thing the Fighting Sioux Progam had to offer. I’m still shaking my head)

    Playing for the Fighting Sioux at the Ralph is very similar to playing for the Rangers at MSG. The building is always full, the tradition, the coaches, the facilities are the very best, everything is there to prepair you for an NHL career if you have the talent. (Parise/Toews/Stafford/Oshie)


    80 games and twice the points. He may look better on paper…..

    but he would have looked better in a Fighting Sioux jersey winning a National Championship 🙂

  3. ArtyFan says:

    Thanks, for taking my advise on predictions. LOL If you count a balance of bad plays and good plays by MDZ, you would understand why I want to trade him. He does all the same mistakes plus he is terrible skater. Sometimes I see like a slow motion when he skating. It doesn’t mean I discourage you of overhype him. Dubi best game in front of him, but when? Is this juicy contract or something else? McD is a monster and in few years I think he will be even better than Marc. I feel comfortable with Woywitka and Emmy in our situation, but want other D instead of DZ and Erixon need seasoning for few months. 10 min per game collectively can’t lead us to playoffs. Don’t expect King playing every game like this. He is super human, King, but not GOD.

    • The Suit says:

      I don’t mean to cherry pick, but skating is not MDZ’s issue. It’s decision making and gap control, both of which can be solved by playing time and good coaching. MDZ is headed in the right direction, he already looks improved vs. last year. Trading him at this point would be silly.

      • ArtyFan says:

        I prefer to be silly instead of stupid. If DZ still has some value, it’s better trade now, after Staal and Sauer return will be too late, kid didn’t improved an inch, more to that he degraded himself with speed of jet. If you go on different blogs you’ll know that I’m not alone. You can listen to others but my eyes is the best source. Did you watch pre-season and 4 those games? What is the right direction DZ goes? You kidding right? He is awful in every aspect of the game plus he stubborn and very uncoachable kid. Can I said of McD same thing? No, my eyes are still with me and I can see McD is a stud

        • jay h says:

          sin bin material, how is it better to trade him before we have more depth at the position, you refuse to see with your eyes(which really aren’t better than everyone else’s eyes) what is really happening, and have you talked to him, is he really stubborn and uncoachable?

          • ArtyFan says:

            First of all, do I have to talk to him to observe he uncoachable if for 3 years no adjustments were made and repeat and repeat same alod mistakes? Second, ‘Now’ I mean package him to whatever for 5-6 D role player or prepare cap space for decent one. Did I say my eyes better than others? I said my eyes are better than other ears. I just don’t like when people overhype player for … what? Did you see how many mistakes he did in yesterday game? Yes, he did something good but compare to bad it’s unnoticeable

            • The Suit says:

              I respect your opinion Arty fan, but just to be clear, I don’t get my opinions from other blogs. I get my opinions from observations, talking to scouts, and listening to former players’ analysis.

              Not that any of that means my opinion carries more weight, just explaining where it comes from.

              With that said, trading Del Zotto – a potential 1st pairing defensemen down the road – for a 5th or 6th dman is Ludacris.

            • Dave says:

              I’m going to have to disagree with you here. MDZ has made some big time improvements so far.

  4. ArtyFan says:

    A glaring fact one can’t ignore
    Canucks with power plays galore
    Did shoot and shoot but could not score
    As Henrik Lundquist shut the door
    They’d forty shots not one went in
    Canucks were fine but did not win
    What should have been a Nucks’ shutout
    Became a New York Rangers’ rout
    Sometimes that’s the way things go
    We watch because you never

    This written by Nucks fan after the game. King can’t be ignored this season to bring Vesina at home.

  5. Leatherneckinlv says:

    I have to agree on Wowitka, he has been a pleasant surprise to me as well and as far as Del Zotto goes he does need more top line minutes and that spot is in Hartford. Two games in a row he got deked out of his pants and in a positive note in regard to Del Zotto he has improved from last year. It is obvious that he is playing timid and fearful of making mistakes. That being said next years draft Rangers should nab either one of Slater Koekkoek or Griffin Reinhart who are defensemen.

    Jt Miller and Krieder are in my mind destined to play with Stepan in the very near future and it actually is going to be a good thing that Stepan will be the veteran on that line. I foresee 4 rookies really making a push to crack the line up next year with Krieder, Thomas, Bourque and Miller. McIlrath has a shot too but dont see the need to rush him and would prefer a year in Hartford to hone all his skills to including fighting better skilled opponents. Bourque seems a perfect fit to take over for Fedetenko’s spot with Boyle and Prust and Thomas a great fit for Gaborik and Richards.

    • ArtyFan says:

      Can’t disagree on what you saying, except one… Thomas, I thought he is special and I hope he is, but in the camp I just saw flashes. He has to work a lot before coming here. Kreider I think the most talanted to come.

    • HARLEMBLUES says:

      CARL HAGELIN.Hagelin should be up now playing on the 4th line and EC should be gone already.I agree with Kreider,Miller,Bourque and McIlrath.Thomas looked small(needs to get stronger)but skilled.I see Miller in the Dubi/Cally mold but bigger,stronger,faster and more skilled offensively.

      • Dave says:

        You don’t bring up Hagelin to play on the 4th line. He needs top-nine minutes.

        My feeling on this team is that they will be a true contender when the Boyle-Prust connection is a 4th line. Right now they are a 3rd line.

        • The Suit says:


        • Dave says:

          Elaborating on this, when I say “when they are a 4th line”, I mean when there is enough talent to push them to the 4th line, not when they regress to being a 4th line.

          • The Suit says:

            People don’t like the term “4th line” for some reason, like it’s derogatory or something. Maybe we should call the 4th line something else…the Spartacus line?

            • Dave says:

              I don’t get that either. The fourth line isn’t a place for bad players, it’s a place for a defensively responsible line that can chip in every now and then.

              The gas station is the place for bad players.

        • HARLEMBLUES says:

          Hagelin should be up and EC gone.Torts mixes lines anyway so if Hagelin is playing strong he will get minutes.He will learn more playing and practicing with NHL players day in day out.Hes fast,skilled and he grinds the team could use his energy. EC floats doesn’t get dirty.

  6. ArtyFan says:

    To whom it may concern. LOL Where we start getting hype on DZ he is next Leetch? Awful Rangers at 3 years ago without much needed QB and we saw DZ in camp at that time with his long home run passes… Hurrah!!! And it did work for a while before NHL coaches and Ds adjusted to this. We covered our eyes on his other sides of the game till… he became pretty readable of his play and it come back to turnovers. Waves of turnovers, a lot of turnovers, ocean of turnovers which led to penalty box and goals in our end. The rest of his game always was sucks. We hoped he will come next season as a smart player who corrected most of his wrong game play, but instead he finished in CT and it was too late. This season he wasn’t even consider to play here, but to our unluck and his luck, Staal and Sauer are away to return and it’s only the reason he was kept. I want to know exactly what improvements he made? I’d like to hear what I missed when I watch a hockey game.

    • jay h says:

      “This season he wasn’t even consider to play here” Again, did Torts tell you that himself?

      • ArtyFan says:

        Not really, if I had some inside info I would share with you. It was my assumption on his pre-season games. Tell me you did like it.

        • The Suit says:

          Here’s some inside info, Brian Leetch himself said he likes Del Zotto’s passing skills and his ability to create space. Leetchy also said he sees a lot of potential in him.

          That’s all I need to hear.

          • jay h says:

            but this guy’s eyes are better than everyone’s ears so that doesn’t matter

          • ArtyFan says:

            Suit, nothing personal with all of respect… I recall Leetch said it, but wasn’t it when DZ just started with us? If you pointed me latest article I will appreciate this. I don’t deny he has something in him, but did Zherdev had it too? That’s whole my point he doesn’t discover himself. I think Rangers pushed him too early into tough spot and he got lost. If he is so special and people don’t like to hear about trade him, be so. Just from recent memory, didn’t people and Rangers talked same way about Sangs? Where is he BTW? AHL in Carolina? There is a talent and there is a work ethic. Cally not very gifted player, but his work ethic and heart make him well deserved Captain on Rangers team. Arty isn’t high scoring machine, but gradually getting better and better and will be a star at some day. I like McD last season. He was very good and his work ethic and talent make him on of the best D we have. I don’t buying media or Organizational marketing. They don’t have to sale me, they can show me. By saying ‘me’ I mean most of Rangers fans. That’s why I use word ‘eyes’. Do I have to consider myself the most intellectual fan? No, but I can see obvious and differ sh!!t from good. I think player should sale himself to the crowd, not by others. It’s best way to HOF. If Vtank( either not good skater, but all others aspect excellent) would be smart enough telling Torts about groin, I think DZ started with Whales. I’m not telling he is bad boy, he is bad student who doesn’t want to learn. I ask guys before, can you tell me what exactly improvements did you see in his game? We don’t have to agree all the time, I just share my feeling about DZ watching him for 3rd season.

            • jay h says:

              Vtank had a horrible camp, much worse than MDZ, add in the fact that MDZ has more expierience and there was no way that VTank was making the team over MDZ.

              • ArtyFan says:

                Jay, It’s not my intention to discourage you being a believer DZ potential 1st D pair. It’s not my intention to fight with you. I return your question by question, Did Torts tell you ‘was no way that VTank was making the team over MDZ’? Vtank play the only one game in pre-season and it was terrible at first, but reading the news after that he played with groin pain and didn’t want to tell Torts doesn’t make him worse. It was stupid childish selfish mistake in desperation to make a team, but he is better D than DZ, at least in my EYES.

              • ArtyFan says:

                .. forget to add re experience. We have Ds with less experience than others, but they are at best.

              • jay h says:

                that isn’t relevant though. Vtank played much worse than MDZ did in camp and why would the team take an injured d-man who played horribly over a healthy d-man who played better. Plus, Vtank’s groin doesn’t affect his decision making, which was one of the bigger problems he had in camp

              • Dave says:

                I don’t see how you can say that with a straight face. Valentenko had an awful preseason, and definitely took a step back.

              • ArtyFan says:

                We can continnue argue, but I don’t understans when you compare camp of player we saw and camp of player he played the only game and it was groin problem. you might be right on VTank desicion making weakness, it make me open my EYES(LOL) you didn’t direct it to DZ… To put this to end… I will praise player when he deserve it.

              • The Suit says:

                I’m retiring from giving any more opinions on MDZ, feel like we are beating our readers to death with this stuff.

                Time will tell if he’s legit or not. Next topic!

  7. Chris says:

    people, work on your grammar! (and If I’m saying that lord help you all) 😉