Coming off of a winning season and a surprise second place finish in the B1G Regular Season standings, the Michigan State Spartans got great news in the month of April. On April 20, West Bloomfield native Thomas Miller committed to the Spartans for the 2017-18 season.
Miller is a 1999 birth date who is already 6'1" and listed at 165 pounds. He played this past season with the Victory Honda Midget Major team, coming from the past two seasons spent with Compuware. Miller had 8 points in 31 league games in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League that Victory Honda competes in. Miller was competing against 17-18 year olds for most of the year as a 15 year old (turning 16 in March). Playing up a division is one thing, but being able to do that as a defenseman is amazing. Chris Dilks from SBN College Hockey has gotten to see Miller play this season and had this to say about the defenseman:
Excellent footwork, hands, and hockey sense. Miller has many of the tools to be an exceptional defenseman at the USHL level.
That quote comes from a preview of the USHL Phase I draft which happened on Monday night. Miller ended up going 4th overall to the Fargo Force. The Phase I draft involved selecting all 1999 birth dates (minus those that have already committed to playing for the US National Development Program) meaning that Miller is one of the top players in his age group at this point. Miller may be the most talented individual to commit to Tom Anastos during his tenure and will be joining the Spartans after a pretty well stocked 2016-17 class. Miller was also drafted by the Ottawa 67's in the OHL draft, but since he was a 12th round selection that would hint at how little of a chance Ottawa thinks they have of signing him away from the NCAA route. So don't let writers who only cover hockey part of the year scare you into Miller bolting to the OHL just yet, (like how Josh Jacobs would after being drafted in the 2nd round by the New Jersey Devils).
This is a great commitment for MSU hockey and we at The Only Colors want to welcome Miller to the team!
USHL Playoff Update
The junior careers of two future Spartans ended this past weekend when the Tri-City Storm were defeated by the Sioux Falls Stampede in the Western Conference Final. Cody Milan had 0 points in 6 playoff games while Mason Appleton continued his second half surge with 4 goals and 4 assists in 8 games. Muskegon will play in a series deciding game 5 tonight to see if they can get to a Clark Cup final. Mitch Eliot has 1 assist in seven games and 2017-18 recruit David Keefer has 0 points in 4 games played.