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.