J.T. Miller is a lock to represent the United States as a member of the U.S. World Junior team during the World Junior Championships at the end of December. The only question now is if the Rangers will release him from the CT Whale to play. Chris Peters at The United States of Hockey tries to make the argument for Miller wearing the stars and stripes...
"First of all, the World Juniors is really a world-class event, especially this year with so many would-be NHL rookies likely available for competition. The U.S. has both Canada and Russia in its group and would likely play one of Sweden, Finland or the Czech Republic in a cross-over quarterfinal, so there’s some top-quality competition.
On top of that, Miller would play a marquee role for the U.S. He’d see a lot of ice time, probably a lot more than he sees in an average AHL game, would be part of the power-play, possibly the penalty kill and might even wear a letter on his jersey. He may be playing against his peers and will be one of the more physically developed players in the tournament, but there’s some real value in that experience."
Miller would likely miss nine CT Whale games.
...while I appreciate the points Peters is making, playing against teenagers at any level is no substitute for pro competition. There are plenty of top-quality players from around the world playing in the AHL, so he doesn't need the World Juniors to compete against international opponents.
...i don't see how playing in this tournament helps with Miller's development over staying in the AHL. And to me there is nothing more important than the Rangers 2011 first round pick becoming the best pro he can be.
I think both sides have a valid argument. If the Rangers were to release him, I for one, would not criticize them for it.
Having taken in a few Whale games so far this season, I think I'd lean towards sending him. While the Whale has had some success, after catching a Phantoms v Sound Tigers game the other night, I'm a bit more concerned about the efforts being put into developing these guys by our staff.
Schenn and Coutourier aren't only dominating the AHL competition, they are doing it while learning the roles the Flyers would like to see them in down the road. Ditto for Nino with the Sound Tigers. Coutourier and Schenn are on an attacking PK together. Coutourier QB's the PP. The Isles have Nino setting up, Stamkos style, high slot and he's the end game for their top PP. With the Whale, it seems Gerander is just putting these guys out their and letting them go.
Let Miller go to the tourney. We're talking about 9 games during the lull of a 70 game NHL season. Let him get some experience against top players in his age group. Canada is planning on bringing Nugent-Hopkins, provided the NHL isn't back on the ice, so the idea that the Rangers wouldn't release Miller is kinda far fetched. There's more to be gained then lost in sending him.
Since there's no NHL right now, there it's not like Miller is going to be called up any time soon. He's got the whole rest of the year to play in the AHL, let the kid go represent his country.
Actually if the World Under-20 Championship (sorry it is not the WJC) was held in North America then you send him. But sending him to Russia would do more harm than go because of the combination of scheduling and the traveling. Any other time you release him but if you are wanting to give Miller a shot at the NHL roster (IF there is a season) then don't mess with him. I am a huge fan of the Under-20 Championships but between rule changes and different ice rink sizes not worth messing with Miller's mechanics.
@TheProspectpark Woops, I guess I was just too lazy to type under 20...LOL! Normally I would agree to send him, but given all the NHL-caliber talent that now resides in the AHL due to the lock-out, I think it better suits his development. Good points about the rink sizes too.
@TheNYRBlog Leaving Hartford to play WJC was a huge boost for Anisimov's confidence & it showed on ice & scoresheet when he returned.
@TheNYRBlog uhhh what? Team Russia > any AHL team he'll see this year. Kris Newbury wears a letter in that league. Enough said.
@TheNYRBlog So then put him in a Long Island men's league. Best young talent in the world at the WJC. He sees that 1x a month in the A
@TheNYRBlog I'm 15 min from Avon Old Farms tho, so I'm going to have to catch some of those games. That's basically ECAC hockey anyway lol
@TheNYRBlog oh absolutely I think that's why I'm more disappointed. I expected the level of play to be much better than normal. But it's not
@Charming_Idiot I can see that. On the other end, because of the lockout a lot more top end young talent in the AHL than normal as well.
@TheNYRBlog still think it's in player's best interest to play in tourney, but with lockout developments I'm more a USA fan than NHL now.
@TheNYRBlog fair enough. But with Can, Rus and Fin/Swe/Cze we are dead as disco without Miller. And probably even with him.
@Charming_Idiot Obviously, we have a difference of opinion. I think there's benefits to either one. Tough decision either way for NYR.
@TheNYRBlog point is, love most of the work you guys do but that's asinine man. Compared to the WJC, the A is absolutely a men's league.
@TheNYRBlog I had the misfortune of sitting through a Whale game this year. Other than Kreider, ABSOLUTELY. haha
There is no argument. If you look at the rosters of the teams in the AHL for the games he would miss is a who's who of young NHL talent: Travis Hamonic, Nino Niederreiter, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Tim Erixon, JAM, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and probably a ton more, and that's just a few games. Sorry, he may dominate in the WJC, but he will become a better player staying put at the AHL level.