"I thought Skjei was Team USA's best defenseman today, away from the shadow of former U18 teammates Seth Jones and Jacob Trouba. Skjei was his normal, slick-skating self, but showed even better puck-moving skills than he's displayed previously in camp. He was working the power-play with Connor Murphy extremely well and got himself involved a little more offensively. He was so sound positionally today, which made things difficult for the finish forwards. There are some elements of his game that could use polish, no doubt, but based on what he showed in camp, he belongs in the conversation as a potential No. 5 or 6 Dman on this team."
Skjei picked up his second assist of the evaluation camp in the game.
...nothing better than a bubble player making a lasting impression on the final day of camp. Love hearing that he impressed on both the offensive and defensive ends.
Reader Rich P., who attended evaluation camp on Thursday, agreed with the Skjei comparisons to Ryan McDonagh...''
Steven Fogarty, also a bubble player, centered the top line during the scrimmage, but was held scoreless.
J.T. Miller, along with the other locks to make the team, were healthy scratches for the game.
...not sure the Rangers organization could have asked for a better week from their three evaluation camp participants, as Miller proved he belongs on the team for a second straight year, while Fogarty and Skjei have given Team USA a lot to think about when selecting the final roster later this season.
Speaking of Miller, Jess Rubenstein at The Prospect Park feels the Rangers 2011 first round pick played this week like he did not want to go back to the OHL...
"The big winner at least in my eyes has to be J.T. Miller as his play during the camp tells me that Miller has no intention of playing in the OHL this season. Ready for the NHL? No not yet but Miller has taken a good enough leap in his development that lockout or not that Miller just may force the Rangers to keep him with the CT Whale."
Rubenstein adds that ironically, Miller's great evaluation camp could end up costing him a spot on the Team USA roster if the Rangers decide to play him on the Whale this season, as there is no way the Blueshirts would allow one of their top prospects to risk injury or mess with any rhythm he may have at the time by playing in the World Junior Championships in Russia.
There's NOTHING that says starting the season in the AHL, or even NHL, would keep Miller from playing in the WJC's. Jerry D'Amigo left the Marlies to play with team USA in 2011 and in 2012 Devante Smith-Pelley was loaned from Anaheim and Brett Connolly was loaned from Tampa... and that's just off the top of my head.
Unless Miller turn into our top forward at the NHL level, the Rangers shouldn't hesitate to let him go. If he's still developing as a player, a couple weeks at WJC's will do more his development then a couple weeks of regular season in the AHL.