J.T. Miller is one of just three players eligible to return for the U.S. National Junior Team at this year’s World Junior Championship. He’s also the only U.S. WJC candidate currently playing professional hockey.
The New York Rangers first-rounder is currently skating with the Connecticut Whale in the American Hockey League and is off to a terrific start.
Wednesday night, he scored his first goal as a professional and was it ever fantastic.
That’s former fourth-overall pick Adam Larsson Miller undressed before making a mockery of goaltender Keith Kinkaid. Filthy.
The goal was Miller’s fourth point in five games this season. He also played in eight games during the Calder Cup Playoffs with the Whale last season, which likely helped get him ready for his first full pro campaign.
Miller is a lock for the World Juniors so long as the New York Rangers decide to let him play in the tournament. Though he’ll miss a few weeks of pro hockey, Miller’s participation at the WJC could be beneficial developmentally, considering the opportunity he’ll likely play a leadership role and be a go-to guy for Team USA in all situations.
With the incredibly strong field that could be available to other countries due to the NHL lockout, this World Junior Championship could be a terrific developmental opportunity for all players involved.
(h/t SNY Rangers Blog)