Returning his second go-around in the World Junior Championships is New York Rangers 2011 1st-round draft pick, J.T. Miller. Miller was selected along with 27 other players for Team USA's preliminary roster earlier in the week, and is considered a lock to make the trip for to Ufa, Russia this winter. Miller, who is currently playing for the Connecticut Whale down in the American Hockey League only has four goals, and six assists in 21 total games. However, there is a lot more to look at than just points with Miller, and that is one of the main reasons for his upcoming role with Team USA.
I'm sure you've heard this a million times since his draft year, but Miller brings a whole bunch of speed, strength, and tenacity to the table. These types of attributes are crucial for any team to be successful, but in the World Juniors, this is what fuels momentum in these close, emotional games. He also opens up the ice for his line mates, and on an international ice surface, this only helps his matter even more. Expect Miller to get a plethora of ice time during these games, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him get occasional special teams time, according to Chris Peters of United States of Hockey.
Miller is also the only player on Team USA's roster this year that has experience at the Word Juniors, and at the professional level as well. This makes Miller role absolutely crucial this year, and he will likely be the rightful recipient of a letter as well.
This year's group of players is specifically centered around the expected top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Alex Galchenyuk, and J.T. Miller. With Gaudreau and Galchenyuk being the go-to goal scorers, their skills combined with J.T. Miller's power forward mentality has success written all over it. It should be a great tournament to look forward too, especially with J.T. Miller playing such a large role, and a very skilled group of youngsters getting their first taste of the World Junior Championships. And hey, with no NHL, this is the next best thing to look forward too.