Player: Micah Miller
Position: Right Wing/Center
Team: Grand Rapids(MN) High School
Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 161st among North American skaters/Sioux City Musketeers(USHL)
What I Like
Miller has a strong lower body and very quick feet, which gives him excellent straight-line speed that can stress a defense one-on-one.
Here’s an example of him blowing by a defender in a high school game this past season:
Here's Micah Miller's game-winning goal for Grand Rapids last night: pic.twitter.com/GfsOruwm8x— Chris Dilks (@ChrisDilks) December 16, 2016
Miller is a tough competitor that is always going at full speed. He’s solidly built and doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s really strong and wins a lot of loose puck battles. He doesn’t have prototypical NHL size, but he’s the type of player that could a lower line role at the next level because he plays a very heavy game.
What I Don’t Like
Lacks elite offensive upside
Miller has become a much more dynamic puck-handler and playmaker in recent years, but still doesn’t project as a big scorer at the pro level. He got 36 games in the USHL before and after his high school season, and put up number befitting a potential draft pick, but not necessarily a very high pick. He’s a lot better offensively when he can work off the rush and use his speed to create opportunities than he is setting up in the offensive zone.
I’ve watched Miller for a couple years now and never would have pegged him as a future NHL draft pick when he was younger. But he has taken a big jump in development in the past year-and-a-half to become a much more dynamic offensive player, and quite frankly, even though I don’t think Miller has huge potential upside, this is just a tough year to come up with other guys I’d take before him. I’m sure NHL teams will take deeper dives into the CHL and Europe, so there’s a decent chance Miller goes undrafted, but I think it would be reasonable to take a chance on him in rounds 5-7.
Miller should have a lot of time to develop before heading to the pros. He is expected to return to the USHL next season to play a full year with the Sioux City Musketeers. After that, he will enroll at St. Cloud State University to play college hockey. The Huskies have had a lot of success with smaller forwards like Miller in recent years, which bodes well for his development. In the long-term, a player with Miller’s speed and hard-nosed attitude could potentially be an effective bottom six player at the NHL level.