J.T. Miller decided to take the quicker route to the NHL. The New York Rangers' 2011 first round selection will pass up a full athletic scholarship to North Dakota. Instead, the 15th overall pick from East Palestine Ohio, who signed with the Blueshirts on July 28 will opt to play for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this Fall.
The 18-year old has his eyes on becoming a Blueshirt earlier than expected. Assuming the Team USA leading scorer, who posted five goals and eight assists for 13 points in helping lead our country to the 2011 IIHF U-18 World Junior Championship (WJC) in Germany- adjusts well in the OHL, he could be developing in Connecticut by next year. In fact, Miller and the Ranger organization could've went that route once he signed but that would work against the current CBA, which states that any AHL experience would count towards an entry level deal. Aside from that, it would've been rushing him.
If Miller feels skipping a well respected hockey program like the Fighting Sioux won't hinder his development, then I support his decision. Even if I'm a bit skeptical considering my excitement about UND. As we get to see daily on the other side of the Hudson with Devil tandem Zach Parise and Travis Zajac, North Dakota has a good reputation. I just hope it's for the best.
Also noteworthy, Miller made the first cut for Team USA at their pre-summer Junior Camp for this winter's WJC. In fact, they're taking on Sweden right now. The Swedes lead 2-zip after one. For full coverage, check back on the official Team USA Hockey site. I'll try to update later or perhaps tomorrow.
Anyway, I did find some cool highlights from a game versus Russia in which JT lit the lamp twice. He definitely has some wheels and knows where to go to score. Hopefully, Garden Faithful will get to see a lot more of that in the future.