20. LC JT Miller – USNTDP U18 (USHL)
DOB: Mar. 14/93 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.01 | Weight: 198lbs
Midterm Rank: 30 | League Rank: 2nd USHL | Country Rank: 2nd USA
Prior to this year, I’ve seen Miller dominate and be the best player on the ice, even as
a member of the U17 team last year against players 3 and 4 years older. At times, he
controlled the game during his shifts with solid skills and determination on both sides of
the puck. There was no denying that Miller had the look of a Top 30 NHL prospect it
was just a question of how he would put it together in his draft year.
Miller is a very strong, powerful skater and he uses his speed to help him both
offensively and defensively. He’s an extremely hard worker and has the ability to get
to loose pucks as well as separate the puck from the carrier seemingly at will. Miller
has good balance and is strong on the puck when he has it and battles hard when
he doesn’t. He’s good along the boards and gets out of battles with the puck. Miller
handles the puck well and uses his balance and strength to protect the puck until he
makes a play.
He’s not the most creative player on the ice but he does have the ability
to make the easy play. Miller’s passing and shooting abilities are at the very least solid
and consistent but he does show flashes at times of high end abilities in this regard.
Miller plays his end of the ice well and has a physical side that makes him difficult to
play against. The knock on Miller was that when you saw him play and admired his
skills, you wondered why he did not produce the numbers to match those skills. At
times, Miller’s decision making with the puck was cause to question his hockey sense
and offensive awareness. He seemed a safe bet to develop into a third line center who
could match up against the opposition’s top line. A prospect for sure but the first round
may have been a stretch.
The U18’s this past April may have been the culmination of Miller putting it together
with the production level finally matching his skills. He was one of the top scorers in the
tournament and was selected as the top forward on the American squad. Miller’s ceiling
may have been raised to the extent that a team might feel more comfortable using a
first round pick on a player who now looks more like a second line center who will still
provide strong defensive play. The only other question on Miller that needs answered
is whether or not he will continue his development and the University of North Dakota or
Plymouth of the OHL.
Pros: Strong skater, good defensive player, solid skills
Cons: Production has only recently matched skill set leading to questions on hockey IQ.
Skill-set Comparison : Ryan Kesler