Feeding the Fire is a new series welcoming the newest arrivals to the 2013 Coventry Blaze and providing your very own scouting report on all new arrivals in Coventry the day they’re signed. Today, it’s the turn of ex-Allen Americans forward Brian McMillin.
Brian McMillin is a 6’2, 203lb forward who hails from the very centre of American hockey country…Roseau, Minnesota, USA. He’s 25 years old, shoots right, and has played mainly centre throughout his career. He joins the Blaze from the current CHL Champion Allen Americans. This is his first season in Europe.
Born the 26th Feb 1988 in the small (2600 population) town of Roseau, Minnesota not far from the Canadian border, the young McMillin grew up in one of the proudest hockey towns in North America. Roseau has a long tradition of excellence at high-school hockey-the high school has won more state championships than any other-Roseau is a place where high-school hockey isn’t just a sport, it’s a religion. Brian captained his school for two seasons, scoring over three points a game, before winning a scholarship to NCAA Div I’s Colorado College, where he played four seasons centering the fourth line, gaining a reputation as one of the best defensive/penalty-killing forwards in his conference and being named to the All-Academic WCHA team three times as well as majoring in Mathematics.
From his college career, McMillin signed with the East Coast Hockey League’s Kalamazoo (Michigan) Wings, playing a total of 17 games in 2009/10 and the first part of the 2010/11 season before making the long trip south to Allen, Texas and the CHL’s Allen Americans, where he played from 2010 to the present. In his three seasons in Allen McMillin scored an impressive 89 regular-season points while again mainly being used as a defensive/two-way forward on the third line, his best season coming in 2011/12 with 43 points (including 16 goals). Last season was a truly stunning year for him, though-indeed McMillin himself described it as a “dream” as he scored 15+15 in the regular season (again while being used mainly on the third line and penalty kill) before exploding in the playoffs for 12 goals and 8 assists as the Americans went on a run all the way to the CHL title. Most impressively, he scored a quarter of the Americans’ goals in their first round win and two game-winners in the Cup finals, and ended up +10 on the season to boot.
Brian has been used mainly as a two-way/defensive forward and penalty-killer during his career, becoming known as one of the best in that role at every team he’s played. At 6’2 and 203lbs he’s an excellent physical presence who can make a nuisance of himself in front of the net, as shown in this clip from his Colorado College days against Wisconsin (from 6:57):
But don’t think that he’s not got great touch in front of the net-McMillin’s also a hard worker prepared to create his own chances along the boards-look how he wins the puck along the half-boards before skating back into the high slot and snapping a wrist-shot away in this clip (from 0:47):
Hard work is the key to McMillin’s game-that and using his strength and skating to create problems in front of the net.
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
McMillin’s two-way game…anyone who’s consistently lauded as one of the best defensive players on his team is definitely going to be an advantage-every team needs a skilful two-way forward. McMillin reminds me very much of Jordan Fox in this regard, and we all know how good he was.
McMillin can score, too-which will a highly-touted combination, especially as he’s going to be given a lot more freedom at the Blaze than he was elsewhere…
FLIES IN THE OINTMENT
It’s a struggle to find any-but there may be the odd question over whether or not McMillin can produce at the pace expected by a 2nd-liner…however, the playoff pace shows that given the chance, he can.
SO WHERE WILL HE FIT IN?
One of the key things with McMillin is his versatility-as previously stated he’s been used mainly as a defensive forward and penalty killer, and you can expect him to be used as one of the main penalty killers on the Blaze too. But he’s proved that he can score, too-so he’ll likely fit in beautifully as the second line centre on this Blaze team-possibly as the balance to the all-guns-blazing offence of Ryan Ginand, assuming Ginand doesn’t get paired with the Henrich brothers.
With McMillin’s strength and two-way game he’s a perfect fit anywhere in the top-six…expect him and Mike Henrich to be the top two centres, depending on the last two import signings.
– Brian usually wears #9, but will likely be wearing a different number this season given that that’s taken by Ross Venus already.
– Brian’s wife Wendy is a Minnesota girl who met him while also playing junior hockey, and also played high-school and then college hockey…for Bemidji, one of Colorado College’s biggest rivals.
– Brian has been very active in the community in his time in Allen…
– He has only 0.5 points a game in regular season play, but this rises to just under a point a game in the playoffs throughout his career. He’s currently +26 through his career.