If you’ve been following this 12 months’s draft profiles, you might need been noticing a slurry of defensemen and facilities, as a result of realistically that’s the place the Leafs’ prospect pool is missing. This submit is not any totally different, though this shall be our first protecting a extra conventional defenseman in Okay’Andre Miller.
The Leafs’ wants shouldn’t be a consideration as a result of everyone knows that Best Player Available (BPA) is the go-to technique. Also, with a lot of wingers leaving the system over the past couple years (Soshnikov, Leipsic, most likely Komarov and Van Riemsdyk), and with the uncertainty that comes with goalie scouting (not less than within the public sphere from amateurs equivalent to myself), there isn’t actually an space that may afford to go unaddressed.
With the above in thoughts, Miller is an fascinating prospect that Leafs followers ought to keep watch over. Currently the Leafs decide 25th general, and I wouldn’t actually advocate taking him there as there’s defensemen I’d a lot favor. However, in the event that they have been to commerce down, or if Miller have been to fall to their 52nd general decide, I believe there’s a case to be made that Miller might make an affect of their system.
Who is Okay’Andre Miller?
Miller is a left-handed defenseman taking part in for the USA’s National Development U18 Team. The group is a growth program arrange in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that includes the very best younger gamers that the USA can herald. For the unfamiliar, the U18 group competes in USHL and in addition sees some exhibition video games in opposition to the NCAA. The competitors is fascinating; one would possibly suppose an meeting of the very best American draft-eligible prospects would dominate the USHL however the U18 group didn’t even make the playoffs this 12 months.
Date of BirthJan 21, 2000
Place of BirthHopkins, MN, USA
Height6’four″ / 194 cm
Weight205 lbs / 93 kg
He stands 6’four″ tall, so that is in distinction to a few of the smaller defensemen who’ve been profiled already like Addison and Tychonick. He additionally apparently weighs 205 kilos if that issues to you. His birthday is in early January, so he’s not a late birthday.
Miller performed for the U18 World Junior Championship for the USA, who misplaced within the finals to Finland’s group.
Where is he ranked?
The rankings for Miller, like many prospects previous the highest 20 ranked names, has broadly various positions within the ranks.
|ISS Hockey||Not Top 31|
|The Athletic – Pronman||Not Top 31|
|The Athletic – Wheeler||Not Top 31|
|Canucks Army – Davis||37|
|Sportsnet – Cosentino||24|
|TSN – McKenzie||Not Top 15|
|Dobber Prospects – Robinson||31|
|SportingNews – Kournianos||28|
|NHL CS – NA||23|
|TSN – Button||56|
To do like Olympics scores and get rid of the highest & backside ranks (Button low and Future Considerations excessive), we will discover Miller going someplace within the late first spherical or early second spherical.
What do the numbers say?
Player stats (from eliteprospects.com)
Clearly Miller hasn’t been an offensive famous person, however he did find yourself 4th within the U18 US growth program (USDP) in defender scoring per recreation, scoring at a charge of some extent each different recreation (zero.5 pts/GP). For video games within the USHL he scored zero.73 pts/GP, good for sixth within the league.
But Miller isn’t meant to be an offensive famous person, neither is a very powerful high quality in a defender their skill to place up factors. Check out these manually tracked stats from Mitch Brown that laud Miller:
Miller is, by a large margin, probably the most balanced defender tracked on this undertaking. Players like Ty Smith or Ryan Merkley excel over Okay’Andre Miller in sure areas, however none that I’ve seen are as balanced of their talents, with no weaknesses in these numbers, like Miller is.
The significance of numbers like that is, quantification-wise, unsure. But, theoretically, these are a vital description of a defenseman’s skill to contribute to the offense with pictures and first shot assists, in addition to their skill to contribute to the transition recreation by transferring the puck up the ice, or stopping the opposite group from doing so.
What are the scouts saying?
This is an excerpt from Steve Kournianos’ web site The Draft Analyst, and his profile on Miller:
Watching Miller smother in a single finish and skate effortlessly within the different makes me suppose his studying curve just isn’t steep in any respect — he performs a clear, composed recreation in his personal zone and appears implausible when he’s unbridled. Miller might be bodily intimidating, and his sturdy decrease half makes rubbing out forwards of any dimension look straightforward. One factor to contemplate is that this group of NTDP defensemen is deep with offensively-gifted puck movers, so it’s pure for a cerebral child like Miller to deal with his defensive-zone play and act decisively with the puck solely when the chance is smart. This sort of strategy reduces haphazard tendencies to a naked minimal. Choosing your favourite draft-eligible defensemen from this 12 months’s model of the under-18 NTDP is quite a bit like being requested to select your favourite little one, however don’t be shocked if a less-heralded child like Miller has the very best NHL profession out of any from his protection corps.
Stealing from Canucks Army contributor Ryan Biech’s profile on Miller, Okay’Andre was a ahead till switching to defence at age 15. Biech additionally had this to say about Miller:
He is a robust skater with nice mobility for his dimension that he makes use of to be efficient within the defensive zone by rapidly closing gaps after which ending his checks to get the puck separated from the provider. Miller is ready to additionally use that to hold the puck within the impartial zone and into the offensive zone. He isn’t the quickest accelerator however has actually sturdy and highly effective strides that give him a great prime pace.
I additionally advocate watching/listening to this audio scouting report from Matt Levine:
Why ought to the Leafs draft Okay’Andre Miller?
Truthfully, this can be a powerful query since we all know that the Leafs have a ton of depth on the left hand of their protection. But the timeline with Miller shall be prolonged, three years at University of Wisconsin will possible come earlier than he makes the bounce to the NHL. Perhaps judging the Leafs depth chart is the unsuitable method to go.
I don’t suppose it’d be acceptable to take Miller within the 1st spherical but when one way or the other he’s out there at that 52nd general decide, I’d undoubtedly decide him up (except another person like Merkley has additionally fallen right down to that place).
The more than likely state of affairs for the Leafs to land Miller could be in a similar way to how they landed Travis Dermott: buying and selling down. We know that Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is a fan of shrewd pondering, and buying and selling down is one method to maximize your haul on the draft for those who’ve bought a late first spherical decide. If the Leafs moved right down to the 35-40 vary, with some later picks coming as properly, Miller may be a great identify to take there if he’s nonetheless round.
MLN Draft #Content
|DRAFT ARTICLES||WHO TO TAKE AT 25TH OVERALL||MAYBE LATER|
|CASE FOR TRADING UP||CALEN ADDISON||BLADE JENKINS|
|CASE FOR TRADING DOWN||RYAN MCLEOD||MAC HOLLOWELL|
|CASE FOR PICKING 25TH||JONATHAN TYCHONICK||ZACH SOLOW|
|CASE FOR TRADING THE PICK||TY DELLANDREA||BULAT SHAFIGULLIN|
|LEAFS GEEKS DRAFT PREVIEW||RYAN MERKLEY|
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