PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 22: Brady Skjei, 28th overall pick by the New York Rangers, poses on stage during Round One of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 22, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The USA World Junior tryouts is going on right now, and the USA spit the hopefuls into two different pairs: the Blue and White teams. USA Blue kicked things off with a 5-4 victory over Finland.
New York Rangers first-round pick in 2012 Brady Skjei was on the team, and recorded an assist on the team's second goal. Neither J.T. Miller or Steven Fogarty got on the scoresheet, which isn't really an accurate reflection of their play. And since I couldn't watch the game, I can't give too much insight on their play.
What I can tell you is that everyone has been in awe at Skjei's skating and speed, to the point where he has been called the best skater in the entire camp. He's shown off fantastic positioning and his elite skating certianly helps him take care of things in his own zone. It's nice to see him show it off during tryouts, but I really hope he gets a chance to show off these skills during the World Juniors. The competition is way better, and he would have a chance to show off his game against some of the best prospects in the NHL.
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The situation is a little different for Miller and Fogarty. They've danced this dance before -- the tryouts -- and are a little more accustomed to the situation.
Fogarty is a player who took a major step last year when he scored over 80 points in 60 BCHL games. He really improved his two-way game and will actually be attending Notre Dame where he'll get even more work on his two-way game. Still, the Rangers need to be excited with what he brings to the table, especially if he makes the WJC team this year and gets some valuable international experience.
For what it's worth, Miller is expected to make the team, and he's expected to contribute. Miller was very much a Ryan Callahan in the OHL. He grinded, brought toughness and played an all around game. What wasn't expected was his offense, which came in at just over a point per game. He was a main contributor for the Plymouth Whale, and really showed all of the things the Rangers drafting class saw when they picked him. Some experience on the international stage might go a long way in getting Miller to the Rangers sooner rather than later.
I think the expectations are that Skjei will make the team as well. I think at this point Fogarty isn't a lock to make the team at all. But there is a chance all three can make it, and even if just Miller and Skjei make the team there is real potential for two of the Rangers top draft picks to get some serious international experience.