The New York Rangers signed their top draft pick J.T. Miller to an entry level contract today. The good news for Connecticut Whale fans is because Miller, a 6-1, 200-pound forward, was drafted from the USHL and not a junior league so he can play in the American Hockey League.
Miller is 18 years of age and had a very good season last year. He has strong international experience having skated in 48 games as a member of the US National Under-18 team.
Put another way, he can play.
Some are reporting that Miller is still expected to play at Plymouth (OHL) despite his eligibility to play with the Whale…
Here’s the official release:
RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH 2011 FIRST ROUND DRAFT PICK J.T. MILLER
New York, July 28, 2011 – New York Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather announced today that the club has agreed to terms with forward J.T. Miller.
Miller, 18, was selected by the Rangers with the 15th overall choice in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft on June 24. The East Palestine, Ohio native 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.
Last season, Miller skated in 48 games with the U.S. National Under-18 Team (USHL), registering 11 goals and 26 assists for 37 points, along with 80 penalty minutes. He 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. Miller 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. In 2009-10, Miller established USHL career-highs in goals (15) and power play goals (four), and finished with 31 points while skating in 46 games with the U.S. National Under-17 Team (USHL). He also helped lead Team USA to a first-place finish at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins, Ontario, tallying a team-high, five goals, and finishing second on the team in scoring with nine points during the tournament.