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.