On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators acquired forward Michael McCarron from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for forward Laurent Dauphin. McCarron comes from a Montreal organization which drafted him 25th overall in 2013 from the U.S. National Team Development Program.
The 24-year-old will report to Milwaukee after playing in 29 games for the Laval Rocket this season.
Dauphin leaves the organization after 11 goals and 31 points in 60 games for Milwaukee over the past calendar year. Despite being a versatile defensive forward with good special-teams skills, Dauphin struggled to find top-six ice time this season and couldn’t hit his stride offensively with just seven primary points at even strength and a nearly nonexistent impact on team-wide even-strength scoring.
By The Numbers
Picked just 14 spots ahead of Laurent Dauphin in 2013, McCarron was naturally craved for his size. Despite being just the sixth leading scorer on the 2012-13 NTDP U18 team, he was selected first of anyone on the roster, including teammates Anthony Louis, J.T.Compher and Tyler Motte, who had all significantly outscored him that season.
What stands out, of course, is the 182 penalty minutes that season. There was a legitimate belief in his draft year that the Canadiens (or any team) could benefit heavily from his massive 6’6” frame and imposing demeanor.
McCarron skipped out on his initial commitment to Western Michigan University and joined the London Knights for the following season. He accrued 102 points in 122 regular season OHL games and racked up penalties at over a two-minutes-per-game pace (248 total).
McCarron graduated to the NHL quickly, playing 20 games for Montreal in the 2015-16 season. He also had a 17-goal debut that year for St. John’s in the AHL but has failed to maximize his potential, peaking at just 0.65 points per game in the AHL.
McCarron currently ranks tenth among Admirals forwards with 14 points in 29 games this campaign. He’ll likely play just bottom-six minutes at even strength, but could be a decent addition to a power play unit loaded with shooters.
The Scouting Tape
If you took one look at McCarron’s stature, you could probably guess what he brings best to the ice: net-front presence. As his ability to adjust to faster levels of play has continued to falter, McCarron has proven that to be his most valuable asset.
He does have the ability to use his skill to get goalies moving laterally when the puck is in tight, as seen in the clip above. McCarron may not possess the quickest hands, but his wingspan allows for that side-to-side movement without much footwork.
It’s hard enough for goalies to track pucks around well-maintained screens; McCarron’s size creates an extra advantage in this department. He’ll cash in on the score sheet almost exclusively from rebounds or deflections, as seen above.
Aside from that offensive role, McCarron isn’t quite the defensive forward Laurent Dauphin is, despite regular top-six minutes and penalty-killing assignments in Laval. He doesn’t have the foot speed to cover space effectively, and, despite his enormous reach, is susceptible to missed assignments. Seen above, he launches towards a potential passing lane off the face-off but fails to adjust once the puck moves deep into the zone, leaving the scorer open for an easy high-danger chance.
Michael McCarron was given a five minute major, and was then ejected for protesting the call.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) December 21, 2019
He was not pleased... pic.twitter.com/96KTMLnQgp
Even more concerning is McCarron’s lack of discipline. The clip above, courtesy of my colleague Scott (Eyes on the Prize), is just one example of what Scott describes as habitual undisciplined and illogical physical play.
McCarron is on an expiring contract with a $700K cap hit, similar to Laurent Dauphin. In terms of salary owed, however, McCarron is $25K more expensive.
Upon expiry, he will be an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent.
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com; all contract information is courtesy of capfriendly.com.