Rangers Select J.T. Miller With The 15th Pick

Last night, the Rangers surprised a lot of people when they selected J.T. Miller of the US NDTP. With players like Mark McNeill, Joel Armia, and Tyler Biggs available, most people assumed the Rangers would select one of that trio. However, they went “off the board” a bit when they selected Miller. The initial reaction on Twitter was a combination of controlled outrage and shock, which turned into a general trusting of Gordie Clark and his great staff that have rebuilt this farm system.

I wrote a draft preview on Miller, which you can read here. This actually marks the first time I have actually written a preview for a player that was actually picked. I don’t want to re-hash everything there, but Miller carried the U-18 US Team to gold at the World Championships, netting a whopping 13 points (four goals), and leading the team in scoring. Miller was dishing the puck to Rocco Grimaldi most of the time, but Clark was quoted saying that if Miller wasn’t dishing the puck to Grimaldi, he would be able to finish just as easily.

For the past two drafts, many fans have been relatively shocked with who the Rangers have selected in the first round. This was the third year in a row where most fans had to Google who they drafted just to read up on him. Miller is a beast of a player, who knows how to get in the dirty areas. He is also a solid two way center who is great on face offs. He was clearly someone the Rangers coveted heading into the first round.

If it were my choice, I likely would have gone with McNeill (#18 overall) or Armia (#16 overall). But then again, that’s why I don’t work in the business, and I write a blog. We have trusted Gordie Clark for this long. Have faith. Just because it isn’t what you would have done, doesn’t make it a bad pick. Miller will hopefully continue to develop.

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  • We could have had Parise rather than Jessiman had we looked at “solid” rather than “upside”. In Miller. we went for solid, though I think Armia could become the biggest scorer in the draft.

  • It really shouldn’t matter but I like when we take Americans. A young core of Callahan, Dubi, Stepan, Mcdonagh, and potentially Kreider and Miller may give these guys a chance to bond in international tournaments as well. I can’t say I know much about this kid but the front office has been very solid in the draft as of late. Now, how about a trade for a 2nd rounder to get that Grimaldi kid.

  • Clark stated that he was looking for a player that Miller was the ONLY player left on the board that fit all the attributes he was looking for. Other players fit just some of the attributes, but Miller had them all. He also mentioned that they would have traded back if Miller wasn’t there.

    My worry is that for the 2nd year in a row, they pick a player based on his most recent output. They were convinced that although McIlrath showed relatively no offensive talent, he started to have “a good 2nd half” of the season… so that legitimized him being a top 10 selection. Now we have the same situation, where Miller seems to be an offensive underachiever, but because he goes nuts in the world championships, that legitimizes him as being a top 15 selection. I worry about that logic, because either “recent output” could just be a high point in either player’s career and we are picking guys in the first round based on that.

    I want to trust Gordie, but the scouting report about this kids offensive ability worries me a bit. We passed on a couple very good offensive players for a possible 3rd-liner?

  • This looks exactly like the 99′ draft. Well, I don’t think Pierre Mcguire bad mouthed our pick too bad so we could be OK.

  • Dave:
    Sticktap to you for trying to jettison the Jessiman hangover. Truly necessary.

    I like Gordie Clark’s boldness with the Miller pick. Inasmuch, regardless of whether Miller becomes a solid NHL centerman, we now have a Jeff Spicoli lookalike in the system:

    “All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I’m fine.”

  • I wanted Miller all along. He will grow into the Power Forward that is missing on this team. Give him a couple of years playing for the Fighting Sioux and you will see.
    I’ll give you plenty of updates this season on the kid 🙂
    I couldn’t be happier with the pick!!!

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