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07-22-2013, 07:58 PM
Grant McCagg
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I have no issues with folks having fair opinions on prospects..that's why we're here, but no one can predict how a prospect will turn out for certain right after he is drafted. For a lot of reasons, most important being no tangible flaws in his game, I think McCarron will be a valuable piece on a good NHL team for a lot of years barring injury.

I've never once claimed that he'll be a surefire top 6 player or be a steady 25 or 30-goal scorer, but I do get my hackles up when posters bring out the bust word before they've ever seen him play (or even if they did watch him play), and then even worse compare him to prospects they also didn't watch in their draft year. Very few players picked in the first round these days bust...odds are quite high that he'll be an NHL regular, especially in a strong draft year. this year's draft was compared to 2003..well... better than 90 per cent of the players picked in the first round of that draft didn't bust.

McCarron, like all first round picks from all teams, will be given every opportunity to develop and play with the team that drafted him. He is going to play for what many consider to be the top organization and the top coach in the CHL, if not the best development situation outside of the NHL for an 18-year-old kid.

He is going to play with two of the best junior players in hockey, three or four if you include Zadorov and Maata, and be given every opportunity to achieve maximum development at the junior level. He was also part of a very successful development program the past couple of seasons, and by all accounts made great improvement in his game both seasons.

I expect him to play in the world juniors and for sure the Memorial Cup this season. I also expect him to be an important piece on a top-notch junior team, a piece that the GM readily admits they are missing - a huge, physically dominating, skilled power forward. Hunter is on the record as saying he thinks McCarron will likelly be ready for the NHL after a couple of seasons in the OHL, perhaps even just one. He'll play 100+ games this season, many of them quality games. The OHL will be very strong this season , and in particular playing in the western conference, where it is very competitive.

For me the closest prospect in recent years to McCarron would be Tom Wilson, who ended this past season playing regularly in the NHL playoffs, less than a year after he was drafted. I see a lot of similarities in their games. It would not shock me to see McCarron playing for the Habs in 2014-15, and if not, certainly at some point in the 2015-16 season. Even Andy Murray admitted that McCarron might be ready for the NHL next is a possibility.

He brings a dimension no other Habs player does at this point, and I am confident that the organization is going to want him in the lineup sooner rather than soon as they believe his is physically and mentally prepared.

At 6-5 237....he could play in the NHL this upcoming season and not be intimidated physically. It's not going to happen - London is the ideal environment for him this season, but it would not shock me if he is pushing for a lineup spot in Mtl in 2014-15.

I'm not saying he'll be in the lineup next year, but I'm also not dismissing it. In the salary cap world and with UFA starting in a player's mid 20's, the sooner a drafted player is ready for NHL duty, the better it is for the NHL team. ELC contracts allow teams to have more cap flexibility. I'm sure Bergevin will ponder the possibility of replacing Gionta with McCarron next season (or someone else such as Moen if Gio is already gone), and having an extra $4 million or so to use towards plugging another hole. The forward unit would almost gain a foot in height in one move.

If McCarron was a *****, or had off ice issues, was dumb as a rock, or couldn't skate, or lacked compete, or had no vision, or no shot like Calvin Dehaan, or was small and weak...then I could understand there being some concerns that he will bust. I don't see any of those things being a concern.

I'm really looking forward to seeing him in London this season. If he ends up being a 20-30 point scorer playing on lower lines who is a ***** that can't fight his way out of a wet paper bag I'll be the first to admit I overestimated him.

Last edited by Grant McCagg: 07-22-2013 at 08:04 PM.
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