Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wait until next year

Seth Jones (Portland Winterhawks)
Team USA announced what will be their "almost" final roster for the 2013 World Under-20 Championships and Brady Skjei (NYR 2012 1st) was not on it. On the other hand J.T. Miller (NYR 2011 1st) did make the team and is expected to be named the captain.

So of course there is going to be those who will automatically assume that Skjei is a bust because he was cut and he has not put up superstar numbers at Minnesota. Cue the song "What a fool believes" when you hear such talk.

Skjei is a freshman at Minnesota and is all of 18. Sorry but when your team is picking at the end of a round then expecting a team to draft a franchise player is on the delusional side.

Skjei when I watch him reminds me of Ryan McDonagh when he was a freshman at Wisconsin. That player who broke out for the Rangers last year was a menace to everyone on the ice when he tried to fire a shot on goal.

Defensively McDonagh was a quick learner but while McDonagh played on the USA's Under-18 team; guess who also did not make it to the World Under-20's on his first attempt?

And I don't see anyone wanting to dump Ryan McDonagh any time soon.

As for Miller while being named captain is an honor I have to admit that I am very nervous seeing him with linemates who are 5'6 and 5'9. Nothing against Rocco Grimaldi or John Gaudreau but I just don't like seeing Miller in the role of bodyguard.

If I was Canada or Russia then I play my first line against the USA's as I just don't think this is a line that will hold up against the bigger defenses. I wish them good luck but I will be interested in seeing Miller going up against Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st).

In my eyes Miller's best NHL future will not be in the middle but on the wing. I would be using Miller with his old friend Tyler Biggs as they were quite the force in the Under-18's before they were drafted.

If the USA team makes it to the medal round then we will know if my concerns were not legit. Right now I think the USA has to find much better on ice discipline than we saw against Finland.

The USA squad opens with Germany but gets Russia less than 24 hours later. Give the Russians some credit as they have one very tactual schedule. USA/Germany at 9 AM EDT on the 27th then it is the Russians on the 28th at 4:30 AM EDT.

The USA plays Canada on the 30th before finishing against Slovakia on the 31st. Get nervous when people are already looking at the game against Slovakia as the "must win" to avoid a second trip to the relegation round.

Things will be interesting that's for sure.

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