I have to disagree on some points.
1. It doesn't matter if there are three places or not.
Actually, I think it does, if you have a bunch of people who are about equal. Look at the men's. Evan Lysacek was 3rd in the US in 2009. If Johnny hadn't gotten the 3 spots with his bronze, maybe Evan wouldn't have even gone to worlds. Would they have bumped Brandon Mroz for him? Who knows? They wouldn't bump him for Johnny.
The person who would have been our third is Ashley Wagner. She is no slouch--she is the only woman to make the GPF, and she did pretty well there, she came in fourth. Arguably, she's the 4th best woman in the world, since in a way the GPF is more indicative of who's skating well than the worlds, (because it's based on many competitions, not just one.) It's quite possible she would have done better than 7th or 9th. Or maybe not. It's true she blew her chance by not skating well at the Nationals, but had Alissa not had a complete meltdown last year, she would have been there anyway.
Next year, it could be Mirai or Caroline or Christina who has an off day at nats and loses her chance. Probably nobody here would be too upset if it's Rachael, except for Flatt Fan!
2. Look at Mirai, she did so well. She'll be really good for the next four years
I hope you're right. We don't know if this is a fluke, if she's the next Sasha (good short, problems with long programs, but still manages to do well) or if she's showing herself to be a terrible choker who disappears into the woodwork. I have a terrible worry it's the latter. If she came in like 5th or 6th in the long and wound up 4th overall, it would be one thing. But 11th, falling to 7th? It also seems the judges don't really like her much, and won't give her the benefit of the doubt--although they were tough here, even on Queen Yu-Na.
Every year since 2006 it seems there is some "up and comer" who is about to show some star power and be in international medal contention, in all disciplines. Except for Davis and White in dance, nobody has panned out. Not Brubaker and partner in pairs, not Kimmie Meisner, not Beatrisa Liang, apparently not Rachael or Ashley or Caroline, not Stephen Carriere or Brandon Mroz. I thought Mirai would be the one to break through--and maybe she wil be--but I'm a lot less confident about that now.