Current Team: University of Wisconsin
Date of Birth: January 21, 2000
Hometown: Hopkins, Minnesota
22 GP/4 G/12 A/16 PTS/6 PIM
U.S. National U18 Team
58 GP/9 G/20 A/29 PTS/26 PIM
For 18-year-old defenseman K’andre Miller, he will soon know his NHL fate as he and all the other draft hopefuls will take part in the NHL Draft in just a little over a week, June 22-23 in Dallas.
Once a forward (a detailed look inside), Miller, a future Wisconsin Badger, looks to continue honing his skills from the blue line. In 2017-18, Miller got experience in the USHL playing for the USNTDP Juniors, where he scored 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 22 games. Also playing for the U.S. National U18 Team, Miller compiled 29 points (nine goals, 20 assists) across 58 games.
Here is what is being said about U.S. defenseman, K’Andre Miller.
A poster child for the term “development,” Miller has put early growing pains behind him and has come along exceptionally well since converting from forward to defense as a bantam during his 2014-15 season.
A powerful skater with soft hands and a howitzer of a shot, the greatest leaps in Miller’s development have come in his confidence getting up in the rush. It took some time to learn the ropes defensively upon settling in with the U.S. National Team Development Program, but it’s clear that he’s flipped the switch where his mind is now freed to borrow from his previous experience to attack more often with great speed by leading the rush or filling a lane as a fourth forward.
Miller is a bruising, defensive–minded defenseman…solid mobility for his size, and he does not have any issues getting up and down the ice when already moving…can have some heavy boots when starting and stopping, defending against more agile attackers but handles them by being physical and using his length…communicates well with teammates and plays responsibly in his own zone…great awareness of his defensive zone and quick decision-making ability…does not hesitate to shoot the puck when he has a lane, and his booming shot is his most dangerous offensive weapon…gets good velocity on one-timers…dishes powerful and accurate tape-to-tape passes…a confident puck carrier who does not shy away from doing so…at his best when he keeps it simple…a nasty customer around the net and is physically intimidating…a solid defensive presence while still learning the position after switching to defense from forward a couple season ago…has NHL middle-pairing, physical, defensive defenseman written all over him. (July 2017)
Talented two-way defenseman with top-pairing upside who is committed to the University of Wisconsin. A strong skater with very good speed, Miller generates a lot of power into his stride and is starting to beat both opposing forwards and defenders to the outside. His stick and body positioning in the neutral zone are exceptional, and you can count on Miler to intercept more than a handful of cross-zone passes that he quickly transitions into rushes the other way. His ability to make clean passes on either his forehand or backhand, plus the manner in which he sharply pivots his way into bigger openings might explain how such a big and physical defenseman is only a few years removed from being a forward.
Watching Miller smother in one end and skate effortlessly in the other makes me think his learning curve is not steep at all — he plays a clean, composed game in his own zone and looks fantastic when he’s unbridled. Miller can be physically intimidating, and his strong lower half makes rubbing out forwards of any size look easy. One thing to consider is that this group of NTDP defensemen is deep with offensively-gifted puck movers, so it’s natural for a cerebral kid like Miller to focus on his defensive-zone play and act decisively with the puck only when the opportunity makes sense. This type of approach reduces haphazard tendencies to a bare minimum. Choosing your favorite draft-eligible defensemen from this year’s version of the under-18 NTDP is a lot like being asked to pick your favorite child, but don’t be surprised if a less-heralded kid like Miller has the best NHL career out of any from his defense corps.