There was a fairly large segment of the NHL scouting community that, after last season had written Canadiens 2013 draft choice Michael McCarron off as another one of the team’s wasted first round draft picks. McCarron, who was taken 25th overall two years ago, struggled to find his way through his rookie season with the London Knights, scoring just 14 goals and 34 points in 66 games. The book seemed to be, he was too slow and had bad hands; in other words at best a marginal prospect.
Those same scouts might have started revising their opinion when they saw him perform during Canadiens training camp and after seeing his play with the Knights the last two week will have completely rewritten their reports.
Friday night in London, McCarron scored a goal and assisted on four others as the hometown Knights defeated the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 8-5. The 6’6” 238 lb. McCarron also got into a fight with Edmonton Oilers 2013 first round pick Darnell Nurse, completing a personal “Gordie Howe Hattrick”.
During the off season, the Michigan-born McCarron spent most of his time in London working out with another former London Knight Jarred Tinordi. Two weeks ago he told the London Free Press, “I feel like I had the hands and the shot last year; it was just my conditioning. I wasn’t fast enough. I wasn’t quick enough. I wasn’t first on pucks. This league is fast and it kind of hit me by surprise my first couple of games here.”
It was immediately evident in training camp that he had improved on each of those levels. But his camp was cut short by the shoulder separation suffered in the Canadiens first pre-season game when, in the final minute of the second period he was checked into the Boston goalpost by defenseman David Warsofsky and was forced out of the game with a separated shoulder injury. At that point, in his eleven shifts he he had recorded two shots on goal, three scoring chances, three hits and a takeaway. Doctors said he would be sidelined six weeks. McCarron was back in the London Knights lineup in three.
After scoring a goal and an assist in his first three games he took off. In the last four games McCarron has 3 goals and 14 points capped by his career-high 5 point game Friday night. His seven game season production is now a gaudy 4 goals and 16 points in seven games and he leads the Knights with a 2.29 points-per-game average.
McCarron and the Knights will play in Windsor Saturday night and return home to face Sudbury Sunday to complete a three game weekend. Without him in their lineup, the Knights won only two of their first seven games. With him they have won six of their last seven.