Over the next few weeks heading into the 2018 NHL Draft, we will be taking a look at some of the players that the Philadelphia Flyers could potentially draft. The Flyers have two first-round picks in this year’s draft, with the 14th and 19th picks overall.
Things will come full circle when K’Andre Miller returns to Dallas, Texas for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
When he was nine years old, Miller went on a roadtrip to Dallas to watch his hometown Minnesota Wild play the Stars. Miller ended up down in the locker room after the game where Mikko Koivu greeted him. He introduced himself to the young K’Andre and told him that the next him he saw him at a home game, he would give him a stick.
Two months later, Koivu is taking warmups at a home game when he spots a familiar face. He finds one of the trainers and instructs him to find Miller and hand him a stick. Miller called it “probably the coolest experience I think I’ve ever had with an NHL player.”
Right now, the North Star State has the most NHL talent with 261 players in the league. Miller could become one of the next great talents from The State of Hockey.
Born: January 21, 2000
Weight: 205 lbs
What makes Miller such an interesting prospect is his raw talent. He’s on the Brent Burns-route as a forward who converted to defense. Miller’s transition to the blueline started in 2015-16 and he has already made leaps and bounds in his development. His trajectory wasn’t a straight line though. He struggled with the Under-17 team, but he committed himself to learning the position and, according to scouts, his defensive game has improved.
Scouts call Miller a “bruising, defensive-minded defenseman.” He’s unafraid to use his frame to assert his will in his own end. Scouts laud his awareness and quick decisions, but they also say his positioning and instincts need to improve more. Overall, he’ll look to throw his weight around in the defensive zone if he means regaining possession of the puck.
Thanks to his time as a forward, Miller, like Burns, is an exceptional skater. He has an “almost effortless” stride that generates speed in all directions. Miller has great acceleration and he doesn’t need many strides to reach top speed. His edgework is tremendous, which allow him to pivot and cut quickly no matter where he is on the ice. Although one scout said he can be a little slow from time to time in his transitions. He makes up for this by using his huge frame.
I don’t know this for sure, but I’m willing to bet Miller was a power forward before he converted to defense. He has a strong lower body that gives him great balance and power. This makes him tough to knock off the puck, and it gives him an advantage when he wants to engage on the boards and clear the front of the net.
Miller utilizes his skating to chip in offensively. He combines his quick feet with a good set of hands that help him make a quick first pass to rev up the transition. Once he enters the offensive zone, Miller will not hesitate to fire the puck on net. He’s got a great slap shot, and he can really uncork a one-timer. He has an accurate shot and a good release on his wrist shot, but it needs some work to complement his booming slapper. Miller also has solid vision and playmaking ability. He’ll use his feet to open up passing and shooting lanes to set up his teammates.
Surprisingly, for a forward-turned-defenseman, Miller is not as aggressive when joining the rush. In fact, one of the knocks against him is that he can sometimes be too conservative. He’ll often wait for the perfect opportunity, and there are times when he could assert himself a little more. Scouts have noted, however, that that area has already improved and should improve as he gets more comfortable with the position.
When it comes down to Miller, it’s going to be about coaching. He’s bound for the University of Wisconsin, where he’ll be learning under former USA Men’s Olympic coach Tony Granato. Miller is a tremendously talented player, but scouts say he’ll need the right mentorship if he wants to hit his ceiling as a pro. Miller is a composed, confident player who has a bright future in front of him.
Miller will definitely be available for the Flyers’ pick, and perhaps even later if they trade down. His raw talent could be too good to pass up.
Disclaimer: All of these scouting reports come from aggregated content from throughout the Internet. Any opinion I give is merely a combination of all the information I have gleaned while researching these players.
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