Friday night in Minnesota the spotlight was on the NHL and their future stars as the 2011 NHL Entry Draft took place at the Xcel Energy Center. Picking at number 15, the Rangers selected C/LW J.T. Miller from the U.S. National Team Development Program, who ranked 23rd amongst all North American skaters.
Standing 6′ 1” 198 lbs, the 18-year-old forward from East Palestine, Ohio comes to the Rangers organization in hopes of adding to their depth at the center position. This past season, playing in the United States Hockey League, he ranked third on the team with 37 points and second with 26 assists. Miller is committed to the University of North Dakota starting next season.
Continue reading to find out more about Miller including Blue Line Station’s draft preview prior to the pick!
UPDATE 10:29 PM:
Here’s one of the quotes from the Rangers’ 1st round pick, talking about getting selected by New York, courtesy of Blueshirts United:
I’m not going to lie, I was a little bit shocked. I had one meeting with (the Rangers) so I wasn’t really expecting this. But hearing my name called was the best feeling in the world. I thought (the Rangers) liked me, but other teams had shown more interest it seemed. So it was a bit of a shock, breathtaking really. The best feeling.
Seeing as there were more developed players on the board at the time, the Rangers went “off the board” in selecting J.T. Miller. Most scouts see him as a project; any expectations of Miller seeing the Rangers squad should be tempered to around 3 years from now. However, his high-risks may reap high rewards.
Here’s TSN scout Grant McCagg’s analysis of J.T. Miller’s game:
Strengths - Hard working, versatile forward with a good motor, sees the ice well, effective puckhandler with good puck protection abilities, good along the walls. Powerful straight-ahead skater, drives to the net, smart puck distributor, hard-nosed, likes to throw hits.
Weaknesses - Limited agility, more north-south than east-west, not overly creative, lacks finishing skills.
What also stands out with J.T. Miller is his performances in the U-18 World Championships. During this past tournament, Miller lead the team in scoring with a 13 points –including 4 goals– in just 6 games, averaging more than 2 points per game, becoming an integral part in the U.S. team winning its 3rd straight gold medal.
Back on June 21st, staff writer Alex Nunn, as part of his 2011 NHL Entry Draft preivew series, wrote about J.T. Miller as a potential candidate for the Rangers to draft at 15.
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