J.T. Miller (in blue -Plymouth Whalers)
I wonder how many people are re-writing their scouting reports on 2011 New York Ranger first round pick J. T. Miller these days? Boy you want to talk about someone who took to heart what he needed to work on during the off-season.
From the USA Summer Evaluation Camp to returning to the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL; Miller has been making his presence felt everywhere. Miller said when he was drafted that his goal was to play professional hockey in a year.
Give Miller credit is he is making sure his actions are backing up his words and the Rangers are going to have one very tough decision to make lockout or not. Saturday night Miller and his Plymouth Whalers got their exhibition season under way against the Windsor Spitfires.
Miller looked good registering a power play assist as Plymouth shut out the Spitfires 3-0. The Gordie Clark rule is a player has to dominate at the level that he is at in order to advance.
Right now Miller is making a strong case that he has earned the right to advance in his career. Miller is bigger, his decision making is faster and he is looking to make the play rather than be a part of it.
Elsewhere in the OHL, no word if New York Islander prospect Andrey Pedan (2011 3rd) was in the lineup for the Guelph Storm as they dropped their preseason opener to the newly renamed Mississauga Steelhead 5-3. Pedan is one of 2 returning defenders for the Storm but the question mark with Pedan will be self-discipline.
There is no question that the 6'3 200+ defender has a world of talent to play in the NHL. But Pedan's judgement on the ice has been at best immature as last year he took 66 minor penalties as part of the 152 PIMs (Pedan is also lucky that 10 minute misconducts are not included in PIM totals).
You can't help your team when you are sitting in the penalty box and with this being his contract season; Pedan needs to clean up his game or it will be the KHL not the NHL in his future.
At the Pre-Season Invitational. Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) sat out the opener for his Edmonton Oil Kings as they lost 8-2 to the Swift Current Broncos. Really want to see what improvements that St. Croix has made to his game during the off-season.
The pressure will be on St. Croix after his 40-65-105 led all Ranger prospects but hopefully being overlooked for several Canadian off-season teams will light a fire under him. St. Croix is very close to being the Rodney Dangerfield of the WHL because despite being one of the top scorers nobody is showing him any respect.
Hope St. Croix makes a lot of people regret that disrespect.
In Everett, Islander prospect Brenden Kichton (2011 5th) did not play as his Spokane Chiefs dropped their exhibition opener to the Everett Silvertips 5-1. Just like St. Croix, Kichton gets overlooked as a serious prospect despite being the last year's WHL Western Conference Defenseman of the year (and the leading scorer among defenders 17-57-74).
Kichton will be playing as an overage player this season so I expect Kichton to have an even better season offensively. Want to see Kichton score more goals this year as Spokane will need them in the very tough WHL's US Division.
Staying Everett, suggest people write down this name Keoni Texeira of the Portland Winterhawks and file it away for the 2013 season when he is 16 and eligible to play full time in the WHL. Texerira is going to be a very good 2-way defenseman and his offensive upside is extremely high.
Against Tri-City, Texerira scored 2 third period goals to help Portland earn a 4-1 win. What made those goals look that more impressive was that 15 year old Texerira was partnered with Seth Jones.
Texerira looked very comfortable partnering with a guy who is considered as the best American prospect today. Yes Jones is that good but a 15 year old partner?
15 year old players are not supposed to play with the kind of poise and maturity that Texerira is showing. Let alone score 2 goals 2:42 apart in the 3rd period to break a game open.
This one is for Islander fans as Dominic Turgeon had a goal and an assist in the Portland win. Turgeon as in former Islander Pierre who is Dominic's father.
Younger Turgeon looks like he plans on making the Winterhawk roster at age 16. Yes I may live in Winterhawk land but they have amassed the kind of young talent that would make Gordie Clark proud.