A FUTURE WHALE IS BORN?

New York RangersWith their first pick in the 2011 NHL Entry draft, 15th overall, the New York Rangers selected centerman J.T. Miller.

One never knows what’s going to happen or how a player is going to turn out from the first round.

Will they turn out to be like Hall-of-Famer Brian Leetch (#9 overall in 1986) or will they be a Michael Stewart (#13 overall in 1990) who never played a single game in the NHL.

This has universally been spoken of as a very shallow draft past the first few players so it’s anyone’s guess whether or not Miller will have any kind of impact at all in the future of the Rangers organization.

Who knows whether or not this was a good move or not. Afterall, Pierre McGuire seemed to really like the pick and he certainly knows EXACTLY what he’s talking about (he says with more than just a little sarcasm).

So for now everyone is more than just a little bit hopeful and excited that the Rangers have deepened and improved themselves in Minnesota. It was emotional, and a nice gesture on the part of Rangers’ management, to have Aaron Boogaard, the brother of their recently deceased enforcer Derek Boogaard, to make the selection for the team.

On a night that really captures all that is good about hockey and exemplifies the meaning of hope and a better future, in a economy that is struggling so badly, where so many people, hockey fans included, are hurting financially and struggling to get by, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask to allow everyone a night of at least a little joy and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Here’s the official release from the team:

RANGERS SELECT J.T. MILLER IN 2011 NHL DRAFT
U.S. National Development Team forward chosen 15th overall

New York, June 24, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has selected forward J.T. Miller with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Miller, 18, led Team USA in scoring with 13 points in six tournament contests en route to capturing the gold medal at the 2011 IIHF U-18 World Junior Championship in Germany.  He tied for third among all tournament skaters in points, fourth in assists (nine), sixth in goals (four), and seventh with a plus-eight rating.  Miller was selected by tournament coaches as Team USA’s top player during the elite tournament after leading Team USA in points and assists, and finishing second on the team in goals and plus/minus rating.

The East Palestine, Ohio native skated in 48 games with the U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL) last season, registering 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points, along with 80 penalty minutes.  Miller established USHL career-highs in games played, assists, points, and penalty minutes, and ranked third on the team in points, and second in assists and penalty minutes.  He also established career-highs with two shorthanded goals and three game-winning goals, and notched a USA U-18 career best, two power play goals.  His two shorthanded goals tied for the team lead, while his three game-winning goals tied for fourth on the club.

Internationally, Miller registered three goals and eight assists for 11 points in eight contests at the Four Nations Cup in Sundsvall, Sweden and the Five Nations Tournament in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic.  He notched two goals and three assists for five points in four games at the 2010 Four Nations Cup from November 10-14.  In addition, Miller tallied six points (one goal, five assists) in four games at the 2011 Five Nations Tournament from February 7-13.  He led all tournament skaters with five assists, and ranked seventh in scoring with six points.

The 6-1, 200-pounder has appeared in 95 career games over two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team (USHL), registering 26 goals and 42 assists for 68 points, along with 159 penalty minutes.  Miller entered the 2011 NHL Entry Draft as the third-highest ranked U.S.-born skater and 23rd overall among North American skaters in the final Central Scouting Rankings.

By the way, just as a strange bit of trivia, the last time that the New York Rangers selected 15th over all in the NHL Entry Draft was in 1991. Their selection that night turned out to have a pretty decent NHL career for Miller to aspire to.

The pick that year?

Alex Kovalev.

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