Friday, June 24, 2011

Surprise You Are Not Happy

OK New York Ranger fans why not just get right to it? Want to know the real reason why you do not like the Ranger's selection of Jonathan Miller?

It is because nobody, not one single expert, not one single mock draft, not even the slightest hint that the Rangers were going to select Miller.

I am not at all afraid to say that I never saw this one coming. You would think that after talking with Gordie Clark for the last 5 years that I would know better and expect the unexpected.

See I can say I am more caught off guard than any of you because I had talked with Clark and he as he always does gave me the clue as to what to look for. "Options Are Limitless" was what he told me and I still did not get it.

Me I was wanting Miller's teammate Tyler Biggs as my first choice, Mark McNeill 2nd, Joel Armia 3rd and Sven Bartschi 4th. That is exactly what I was saying on twitter during the first round.

But you know what people rather than say this was a bad pick why not look at exactly what Clark says about options. Miller is coming from the US NTDP program which already has given the Rangers 3 pretty good prospects in Kreider, Stepan and Bourque.

The kid knows how to play in the big game as he has helped two different USA teams (Under-17, Under-18) win tournaments. Miller is headed to North Dakota which is one of the annual contenders for the NCAA Championship.

Here is a clip from this year's Under-18 game against Russia; Miller had 2 goals in this game

He does have a very good skill set and I will not sit here and tell you that he does not have his own set of concerns. He had some disciplinary issues while as a member of last year Team USA NTDP team in the USHL which called into question his behavior off the ice.

Miller was not kidding when he said he had to work on his conditioning this summer as his body is terrible. He lacks any kind of upper body strength which is strange for a prospect who is known as a physical player.

If you were wanting Biggs or McNeill then you got your wish as Miller plays the same kind of game. He does not do it with the same kind of flash as Biggs and McNeill did.

But how can you dislike a prospect who can set himself up in the crease and not be moved? That was the key reason to want Biggs or McNeill so Miller matches up there.

Rangers needed a north/south player and that is what Miller just so happens to be so can not complain there. In face for every reason any one of us wanted either Biggs or McNeill then Miller answered that reason.

If you were wanting the Rangers to go after Brad Richards then here is your opening as Miller is at least 3 years away from turning pro. So now Richards will not be blocking the path of anyone from earning a spot with the Rangers.

And really all of us were once again had by Gordie Clark and he got us as he has now done for 4 straight years. Nobody likes to be fooled and like it or not Gordie Clark owns every single person who does a mock draft, he owns the Ranger media (that includes me) and he owns you.

Give the man a stick tap as he has made trying to figure out what the Rangers do totally impossible to figure out. Michael Del Zotto, Chris Kreider, Dylan McIlrath and now JT Miller.

Oh well that is going to teach people to keep thinking Hugh Jessiman because Gordie Clark is not Don Maloney. Clark has drafted top level talent in the 20 plus years he has done this job.

Maloney may be a nice guy but he is not even at the starting line compared to Clark.

Then let us turn our attention to the New York Islanders who used their pick which was the 5th one this year on Ryan Strome. If you are a Ranger fan then you are smiling brightly because Strome is not going to be able to deal with the Ranger blueline.

We liked Strome during the regular season as he was the center for Jason Wilson but if you are an Islander fan that should have been your first warning sign. Part of Wilson's job description was to be Strome's on-ice bodyguard.

The Islanders are going to need to do that as well because Strome is easy to run. Strome lost his top billing with us after the OHL Eastern Conference finals against Mississauga.

His new teammate Casey Cizikas is either that good a defensive stopper or Strome could not handle the Mississauga defense. In the first round Strome was 1-2-3 in 4 games and then went 5-2-7 in 5 games against Oshawa in the second round with a goal in every game.

But against Mississauga Strome was MIA as he was held to just 0-2-2 in the 5 game series which was for the right to play for the OHL championship. Mississauga made sure that every time that Strome was on the ice that someone got a piece of him.

It worked to perfection as first Strome wound up in a fight and saw his play go south with each passing game. What good are 106 points in the regular season when you disappear when it counts the most?

At 5 the Islanders had better options in Couturier, Scheifele or Zibaneejad who were stronger and better at withstanding physical punishment. Ryan Strome is going to think he is in a Clint Eastwood movie as a stunt double when the Ranger blueline plays against him.

Draft Winners or Losers

Boston who was thinking about down the road when Zdeno Chara retired got a happy surprise when Dougie Hamilton fell into their laps. Hamilton is a solid 2 way defender (who had more points in the playoffs than his teammate Strome FYI). WINNER

Carolina as everyone kept telling me that they do not draft defensemen took Ryan Murphy a defenseman. Call this Jeff Skinner part 2 as if Ryan Murphy was 6'2 instead of 5'10 then he was top five pick.

Carolina just added a nuclear weapon to their blueline as Murphy can score, he can pass and man is he going to be one heck of a power play quarterback. WINNER

Buffalo got themselves Joel Armia right after the Ranger's picked and he is going to be a very good power forward in 2-3 years. Buffalo's new ownership is doing all the right things to turn Buffalo from poor boy pretenders into contenders. WINNER

Pittsburgh got the most underrated defenseman in the first round when they took Joe Morrow of the Portland Winterhawks. Forget my bias as Morrow just kept getting better after Brent Ponich tore his ACL.

Very solid defensively to begin with but boy does he have a deadly accurate shot from the point. Morrow is going to fit in with Pittsburgh with little problem as he will be ready by 2012-13. WINNER

Chicago looked up and saw Mark McNeill sitting right there at 18 and now they will be able to not worry so much when they have to let Patrick Sharp walk after next season. Then they turn around and added Phillip Danault at 26 who flew under the radar as a very hard working left winger. WINNER

Colorado shows up here not because of having the number 2 pick but when you read why Minnesota is showing up as a loser. WINNER

Toronto yes they got Tyler Biggs but in their end they still lost because Phil Kessel turned into Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton. When the Maple Leafs wonder why they can not catch Boston this is why. LOSER

Minnesota the state that grows so many great hockey player while Minnesota the NHL teams drafts Europeans in the first round.  Really Wild if you wanted a mobile defender you had Duncan Siemens right there.

Colorado may have set a new speed record running up to the podium to grab Siemens. Put Minnesota in as LOSERS.

Then finally the Rangers showed why that when it comes to doing the right thing as human beings there is no better than Broadway Blue. To pay tribute to Derek Boogaard in the arena where he got his start by acknowledging him and then having his brother make the Ranger pick is pure class.

Just as classy was the response from the fans in the arena, the teams in the draft area and the media. For such a macho driven sport, hockey reminds us why it is our sport. WINNER

Join me with 2 of my favorite people Jim and the Mouth on Saturday evening at 7PM EDT/4PM PDT We will break down how the Rangers did with their picks and how it will impact the franchise. Pretty sure we will take a sneak peek at free agency too

(Miller courtesy of the USHL, Strome courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)


Kalel9 said...

I was in the McNeill/Biggs camp, but this kid absolutely fills that void in the future Ranger team they are casting. I have a feeling JT has a little more projection in his body and game than McNeill and Biggs who often resemble men among boys. We'll see, but he should have been on our short list coming out of that program and having all that Team USA international experience.

I'll be interested to see if the get back into it before pick 106, as there are some more Clark/Ranger types that have fallen a bit.

Jess Rubenstein said...


I really debated tossing what I wrote out when I saw his interview that Andrew Gross posted at his Ranger Rants.

Very disappointing to see him say his plan is 1 year at North Dakota then turn pro. If he wants to spend 2-3 years in the AHL then follow that plan.

1 year of the NCAA is not going to prepare him for the NHL at best he gets in 45-50 games.

1 year of NCAA will wind up costing him 2 years in the AHL because he will not even be close to ready.

If he is in a rush then go up to the OHL where he can attend starting training camp in August, attend Traverse City and NYR training camp then play at least 70 games (if he does not play in the WJC) regular season games, then playoffs.

That gives him close to 80 games under his belt. He can then join the Whale on an ATO to finish the year and if he is that ready a chance to play in the AHL playoffs.

He was drafted before playing in the CHL so he would not have to wait until he is 20 to play for the Whale.

And whoever his family is using as an "Advisor" should be fired if that is the mindset Miller has.

Sorry I like his talent but now I am worried about what is in his head

Wen C said...


Better talent that Armia? I had my fingers crossed that they were going to call his name and then JT Miller? We get to watch keep track of how they're going to do.

Last year, they could've picked tarasenko over McIlrath. Rangers are desperate for elite scorers. I hope Gordie gets it right. As he said on an interview, everyone has their skeletons and then again, they are the experts and certainly not me.

Leatherneck said...

Rangers still need right handed forwards, Right wing position needs to be the future centers appear to be Stepan, Anisimov, Miller and Boyle. Who will they center in 2014? I wonder if we can trade for McNeill or Biggs straight up...

MJB said...


For a lack of better words: first time poster, long time reader (and admirer) of your blog. Having said that, I'm actually pretty taken aback by your commentary post the Andrew Gross interview...I don't profess to know Miller personally and have seen just a handful of his play on the ice, but to completely undress him like you did for being, as I read it, essentially excited to play in the NHL as soon as possible just seems...wrong.

All things equal, I would want a prospect that is confident in his abilities and from what I've read, the comments match his aggressive play on the ice. Developing as a prospect is a dynamic process, no? Re-assess at the end of his freshman year - both you, the Rangers and young Miller, no?

Also, I think the biggest knock on Miller is his under-production, which people attribute to his poor finishing skills. His skill set is not for me to opine on, but what I do see is something 'behind' the pure numbers he has posted; I've obviously heard mentioned the goals in the U-18 against Russia and the 13 pts in 6 games...that's the biggest stage against the best competition. But it doesn't end there - EVERY big international tournament, this kid was a HUGE point producer: 1) FIve nations Cup ('11) - 1G, 5A in 4 games, 2) Four nations Cup ('10) - 2G, 3A in 4 games and finally, the U-18 - 4G, 9A in 6 games....that's 20 pts in 14 games...basically 1.5 per...that's production, no?

Jess Rubenstein said...


I am glad you defended him as yes you could see my words as harsh or wrong.

What worries me when a prospect is thinking like that is how risky he is going with his career. The Rangers by rule can't talk directly to him about his plans.

The reaction of yours is very understandable but my own experience when it has come to seeing NCAA players go in with the "I am going to this or that" is that it has badly retarded their development.


I got to spend last season watching McIlrath and he is already sound defensively but I think he is going to get better on the offensive side.

He has a shot that really hurts anyone trying to block it and he was used on the Moose Jaw PP so he might not be an elite scorer but he can contribute.


First sorry I deleted your comment (new cell phone) but I have faith in Stepan to be the first line guy

Leatherneck said...

Who plays right wing in 2011?....and who plays right wing in 2014?...who are the centers for 2014...where we both agree the rebuilding has ended and cup runs mind is drawing blanks...but appears th Centers will be Stepan, Anisimov, Miller and Boyle or does this draft signify a Richards signing?

Kmp said...

Hope Miller turns out to be the right pick.

Disagree on Strome, really like him, he didn't play with alot of talent and Cizikas is tough, outside of Huberdeau thought he was the best player in the Memorial Cup.