A Pair of WCHA Schools Lose A Player Early


North Dakota thought it had a pair of USNTDP linemates coming to Grand Forks in Rocco Grimaldi and JT Miller. Now only one will make the trip. JT Miller will be playing in the OHL next year, suiting up for the Plymouth Whalers who took him in the 5th round of the “priority selection” in 2009. Obviously this being a college blog so I am a bit biased, but Miller is the exact opposite of a kid who should be going to the OHL. He is a big, tough gritty kid and instead of being to overpower kids his own age he should be playing against bigger and stronger kids in college so he learns to refine the other parts of his game. His commitment to college was always pretty flimsy but while I do wonder if the Rangers pushed him into it, it seems this was all Miller’s decision. The Rangers haven’t drafted a ton of college guys recently, but two of their best young players both came from Wisconsin. Plus I doubt the club would send Miller on a path that is almost sure to stunt his growth.

While Miller would have fit in as a physical presence for the Sioux, his best quality probably was a familiarity with Grimaldi, who is expected to be one of the best Freshmen in the country next year. Other than that, something tells me the Sioux will have plenty of guys who can hit.

The bigger defection happened in Madison, where Craig Smith decided to take his talents to Nashville, no doubt after seeing their new sweaters which in reality are hideous. Smith was going to be a Badger co-captain and now I have one more slot to fill for a preseason All-American team.

Smith had insisted multiple times he was coming back to school this year, but leaving 3 months before the season starts sounds like the same thing to me. In any event, Wisconsin doesn’t have a forward who can come in right away in 2011, so it will be interesting to see where they go from here. I tentatively have them 4th in the WCHA to start the year, but I suspect they will drop a bit after this as Smith is definitely one of the better players in the country.