2017-18 Team: Moncton Wildcats (#91)
Date of Birth: May 16, 2000
Place of Birth: Quispamsis, New Brunswick
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 205 lbs
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- THW (Pike’s Picks): 54th (March)
- Future Considerations: 53rd (Spring)
- Bob McKenzie: 75th (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 83rd (March)
Anderson MacDonald generated a lot of buzz around the hockey world when he scored 29 goals in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as a 16-year-old in 2016-17. He was instantly labeled as one of the best up and coming pure goal scorers in junior hockey and was trending towards being a first-round selection in the 2018 NHL draft. Now, one year later, the majority of that initial hype has faded as MacDonald has not yet been able to reach that next level of production.
Following his outstanding rookie season, the New Brunswick native was traded closer to home in a deal that saw the Sherbrooke Phoenix send the forward to a rebuilding Moncton Wildcats team in exchange for multiple high draft picks and defense prospect Jeremy Jacques. MacDonald was expected to be the focal point on the Wildcats’ top line, while also carrying a bulk of the offensive load for his new goal-starved club.
Instead, the winger finished the regular season with a disappointing 45 points which was good enough for fifth best on his team. Ultimately, MacDonald was unable to eclipse his 29-goal rookie campaign but still finished his second season in major junior with a respectable 27 tallies.
All of the tools are there for MacDonald to develop into a premier power forward, even at the next level. However, in order for that to happen, there are several blemishes in the winger’s game that would first need to be cleaned up.
The biggest concern that has crept up in MacDonald’s game this season is his apparent lack of focus or work ethic. Instead of getting in on the forecheck and battling for pucks in the corners and along the boards, MacDonald can oftentimes be spotted hovering around the high slot area and waiting for the puck to come to him. With a solid 6-foot-2 frame, MacDonald should have the ability to will his way to the front of the net when he has the puck and engage in board battles down low when he doesn’t. He needs to want to be the puck retriever rather than hope someone else on his line will do the hard work for him.
Related: THW’s 2018 NHL Draft Guide
On the positive side of things, the big winger has a dangerous arsenal of shots at his disposal. MacDonald often displays a pro release and can find the back of the net in a variety of ways. The forward has an excellent wrist shot and quick release on his snapshot. He’s had a high shooting percentage throughout his two-year junior career because of his outstanding shot but also because he can score from in close with a quick set of hands. Skating is also considered a strong suit for MacDonald as he can move up and down the ice with relative ease and displays good mechanics.
Anderson MacDonald – NHL Draft Projection
No longer viewed as a first-round prospect, MacDonald has slipped down to a second or third round target on most draft boards. Despite the fall in the rankings, the 17-year-old still possesses several qualities that teams look for when identifying players to draft. MacDonald has the size, skating and shot that could make him a legitimate NHL prospect if he can make the necessary improvements in other areas of his game.
“His offense is going to get him noticed, and we could see a big number of goals in his draft year. If that happens, his lack of dimension as a prospect will be overlooked by teams who need goal scorers. There is still time for him to clean up elements of his game and emerge as a more responsible player.” – Allan Mitchell, Bleacher Report
- Excellent shot with a pro release
- Good skater
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Can appear invisible for long stretches
- Needs to use his size more to his advantage and become more engaged
Other 2018 NHL Draft Profiles
MacDonald has the ability to become a solid complimentary player depending on how well he can round out his game. A place on a second or third line in the NHL is not unreasonable for the big winger. His skating ability and pro shot will get him a look but it’s up to the player on where his career goes from there.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 7/10, Defense 6/10
Drafted 10th overall in the 2016 QMJHL draft, MacDonald had an excellent rookie season and was named to the 2016-17 QMJHL All-Rookie team. He also captured a gold medal as part of Team Canada at the 2017-18 Hlinka Memorial tournament.