JT Miller: Another Reason for Rangers Optimism

The Rangers have drafted very well in recent years and even when going off the board (so to speak) Fans have begun to show full trust in the Rangers power brokers because results are starting to show. Whether it’s the NHL roster, the minor league affiliates of the exploits on junior and college circuits there are countless recent examples of successful Rangers drafting.

A great example is JT Miller. The young forward was recently named to the US WJC roster and follows a growing line of Rangers draftees to don red-white-blue in the January junior showdown. Derek Stepan dominated at the WJC level before establishing himself as a critical young New York Ranger. Chris Kreider was an impact forward at the WJC level and is now dominating for Boston College before he makes the Rangers, perhaps as soon as next season.

Will Miller follow the lead of Stepan and Kreider? All indications suggest he may well be on Broadway sooner rather than later. Miller has had an exceptional start to his first year in the Ontario Hockey League and leads a strong Plymouth Whalers team with 39 points in 31 games. Miller has 13 goals, a +6 rating and has been effective on the power play as his 4 PP goals attest.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey Blog recently had this to say about Miller:

He plays with speed and power. Unafraid of physical contact, Miller gets to the hard areas of the ice and makes plays. He was the best forward at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship

Read the above comment carefully. Why should Rangers fans trust the Rangers brass? Going by the lowdown on Miller he is a perfect fit for Rangers style of hockey. That’s why the Rangers drafted him and that’s why they weren’t afraid to go against popular opinion at the time of the draft. Miller is another example of great scouting and drafting in recent times. Unafraid of physical play Miller plays a direct style, with speed and has proven himself at higher levels when tested.

The Rangers are developing nicely at every level right now. Kids like Stepan, Anisimov, McDonagh and Del Zotto are establishing themselves as crucial elements of the Rangers while there’s plenty more on the way at the minor league and junior levels. Miller may be one of the very best.

With Kreider and Miller looking like elite prospects and perhaps close to the pro ranks, the future may not be bright for the likes of Wolski, Avery, Christensen and Fedotenko in New York but the Rangers forward corps looks set to get younger, deeper and even more talented for years to come.

12 Responses to “JT Miller: Another Reason for Rangers Optimism”

  1. bob says:

    The whole team looked dominant.Especially Bjustad?.Great that we are able to watch these games.J.T. was great last year,and looked pretty good in the 1st game.Very strong with the puck and great stickhandling.He threw a couple nice checks also.He didn’t seem to get much ice time due to the quality of play of the other lines.I was also watching the Rangers at the same time so it was hard to follow the game completely.But I can see him stepping up to the NHL sooner than later.

  2. Chris in MA says:

    Its been said time and time again. It really is an exciting time to be a Rangers fan. I cant remember the last time I truly felt like our team was headed in the right direction… and when they won in ’94 I was too young to appreciate drafting, prospects, juniors, etc.

    • scrangersfan says:

      Chris, I agree with you. The Rangers are defenetly heading in the right direction.I have been watching them since’65 and have never been this excited. ( except for ’94)I for one was not happy when they drafted Miller and I’am heppy to admit that I was wrong.Gord Clark is a real judge of telent.IMO.he deserves the credit for the stock piling of the great prospects in the Rangers system.The future of the Rangers had never looked better.

  3. Leatherneckinlv says:

    Miller has been another great pick largely due to the work of Gordie Clark. I was quite surprised on draft day when his name was called when both McNeill and Biggs were still on board. Though I am a fan of Biggs, there is no denying that Miller was the better selection. He has developed rather well and I do see 3 rookies making noise at next years camp to earn a spot out of training camp. Those players are Krieder, Thomas and Miller with Miller winning a spot out of camp and Krieder being a call up from Hartford and more than likely Thomas getting a full year in Hartford. And to think we still have McIlrath, Yogan, Wilson, St Croix, Fogerty and McColgan and whomever Gordie selects in the upcoming draft….Wow…how awesome this is…my fellow Blueshirt brothers

    • Zen says:

      I doubt Miller makes the team before Kreider. I actually dont think CK will ever take shift in the AHL. He is just a different level of prospect. Torts wont let him go unless he is completely out of place.

      • Chris in MA says:

        I agree that I doubt Krieder will see any AHL time.

        Im also not so sure that Thomas is going to make the big show any time soon. He looked like he was rather out-matched during pre-season, IMO.

        Miller, on the other-hand, really impressed… but I think he may have one more year in juniors/AHL before debuting with the Rangers.

        • RangerSmurf says:

          Thomas also has a numbers game to fight. Two of the Rangers’ corner stones are in his supposed roster spot (Gaborik, Callahan).

      • Leatherneckinlv says:

        I think the Rangers will want to see Krieder play some minutes in Hartford mainly because of where Krieder plays now in BC, while Miller is playing in the OHL where the competition is better. I don’t foresee Krieder spending too much time in Conn., sort of like Hagelin this year to get him used to a faster speed of the game and also to teach him Ranger Hockey which the coaching staff up in Hartford has done such a marvelous job of. Worst thing for his development is to hit a brick wall up here and be sent down early on. Miller on the other hand does not have the same expectations and will still flourish in a grinding role with the likes of Dubinsky and Boyle.
        Different styles of play for these two men whom I anxiously await to see them as Rangers and part of the core we are now in possession of within all areas of our team…I agree on the wow part….sure is nice eh…to have such a team to root for and be proud of.

        What I see potentially for next year is this:

        GAS Line
        Krieder Richy and Cally
        Dubinsky, Miller and Hagelin
        Prust, Boyle and Mitchell with Rupp as the 13th forward. The bottom two lines are very interchangeable and some of the players very capable of joing the top 6 if need be

        Staal and Sauer
        McDonagh and Girardi
        MDZ and Stralman/Bickel/Eminger likely being a platoon of Stralman and Bickel

        Hank and Biron

        Dare I say this is a Cup winning team? I think they have the ability to be so in my opinion. WOW on that roster

  4. Zen says:

    When i see Hagelin flying around the ice, all i can think about is that guys like Kreider and Miller are actually supposed to be better players. And they both could be NHL bound next season. Wow!

    • Chris in MA says:

      Exactly.

      Replace any two of Avery, Wolski, Christensen, Fedotenko, Rupp, Prust, Boyle, Mitchell with Kreider/Miller and this team gets significantly better.

      Although Rupp, Feds, Prust, Boyle provide greatly in other ways than scoring. But thats not to say that someone else couldnt pick up the slack.

  5. Sioux-per-man says:

    Hagelin & Kreider have simialar talents, both are very fast and have the hands to score. Miller is more of a power forward, which this team needs grit, but he can score as well. All three have a bright future as a Ranger/Prospect, never know when one will be delt for a player like Ryan or a Parise.
    Future looks bright. Then you have Thomas, one has to wonder how they can all fit into the system. This is Zucc’s last year as a Ranger, and look at the talent he has, scoring a point a game in the AHL. No doubt he has just as much talent or more then PA Parenteau, and PA is the leading scorer for the islanders.

    Now I know the Islanders are not a top team, and someone has to score on that team. But if you told me PA Parenteau would be on pace with Jonathan Taveres . . . crazy.

    We have everything we need on this team, to make this a very special year!!! And lots of cards in the deck, to make it even better :)

  6. Tony says:

    I like his (Miller’s) game, but his foot speed is not great. He is strong on his skates, and smart with the puck from what I have seen. Great to hope he is Shane Doan-like. Kreisler will be a real good one! He has tons of size & speed! Im still smartin over padding on Fowler though – he could really be the PP QB they have needed for awhile.