Michael McCarron is a 20-year-old forward who was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The 25th overall pick was selected due to his imposing size, and offensive ability. Though McCarron didn’t produce like many of the other first round selections, he had the upper hand in the size and strength department. McCarron is 6 feet, 6 inches tall, and he weighs 231 pounds. It can be assumed that as he gets older, he will continue to grow and get stronger, which could facilitate his transition to professional hockey. The American forward had many critics throughout his junior career, though he is proving them wrong in his first year of pro hockey playing with the St. John’s IceCaps.
McCarron has had a good season thus far, as he has scored 13 goals, and added 15 assists – for 28 points through 43 games. He was briefly called up to the Canadiens, where he played two games and had four penalty minutes. The power forward will continue to develop in the AHL, while the Canadiens fanbase anxiously awaits the time when he will be NHL ready. All young prospects have a learning curve coming out of junior hockey, but McCarron has a distinct size advantage that may put him on the fast track to the Canadiens roster.
McCarron participated in this year’s AHL All-Star game, which was a testament to his performance through the first half of the season. With the Canadiens struggling, the call-ups have been frequent. This forces their AHL affiliate to play without some of their most important players. With players like Sven Andrighetto and Mark Barberio called up for extended periods of time, McCarron has had to step in and do more than expected in order to help his team.
Michael McCarron et Mark Barberio sont invités au match des Étoiles de la Ligue américaine. #Habs
— Marc Antoine Godin (@MAGodin) January 7, 2016
What to Expect From Michael McCarron:
Michael McCarron is still learning how to use his size to produce offensively. His aggression and toughness are already at NHL level, but he will only be able to contribute as a true offensive threat in the NHL once he improves his speed, and his offensive touch around the net. As shown below, he is learning to get to the net, and learning how to use his imposing stature to help him score, though he still has lots of room to grow before being able to score like this in the NHL.
The prospect’s development will be different than most other prospects, as most prospects need time in the AHL to get physically bigger and stronger before making the jump to the NHL. McCarron is already sufficiently big and strong, but he must improve his style of play before making an NHL team. It’s not always easy to move around when you’re 230 pounds, so he must learn to be more mobile and agile before taking the step to the big leagues. Everything happens that much faster in the NHL, and McCarron must be able to keep up if he is looking to be a successful NHL’er.
Though he still has room to improve, McCarron is said to have an excellent work ethic, which will help him grow and learn as a player. Ultimately, the forward, who has proven that he can play both at centre, and on the wing – has all the tools that are needed to be a successful NHL power forward. His timeline to the NHL may be quicker than some may have expected, since the Canadiens are in desperate need of a big, scoring forward. That said, the Habs won’t rush their prospect, as they hope to let him develop fully in the minors before calling upon him to join the big club.
McCarron’s timeline may also depend on what GM Marc Bergevin decides to do with some of his players in the coming years. At the end of this season, Tomas Fleischmann, Paul Byron, and Dale Weise are unrestricted free-agents. At the end of next season, the Canadiens will be have another group of forwards going towards free-agency. If the Habs’ management decide to sign these forwards, there may not be room for up and coming prospects in the lineup. If Bergevin lets the pending free-agents walk, there will be spots for young players looking to make the jump to the NHL. It is conceivable that McCarron is in the NHL full-time next season, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in the AHL for another season of training and development.
McCarron will eventually earn a full-time spot in the NHL, and his presence will definitely be felt. The big forward has exactly what the Canadiens are missing, and he could prove to be extremely valuable to the team at some point down the road. With a few tweaks to his game, he could quickly become a very effective NHL’er, and he could potentially become the big, powerful forward that the Canadiens have been looking for.
I’m a Montreal Canadiens columnist and lifelong Habs fan. Follow me on Twitter (@gregkatz19) for all kinds of hockey talk, and to be up to date on my newest articles. I previously wrote for Too Many Men on the Site, a part of Fansided NHL.