The Habs did not waste any time getting their first round pick from June’s
draft signed as the club announced on Thursday that they have signed winger
Michael McCarron to a three year, entry level contract. As per club
policy, financial terms were not disclosed. The contract makes him
ineligible to play in the NCAA while means he is bound for the London Knights of
the OHL in 2013-14.
McCarron, a hulking 6’5, 228 lb winger, was picked 25th overall by the team
back on June 30th out of the US National Development Team. It was – and
still is – a controversial selection as a lot fans and pundits felt the Habs let
the current needs of the team overrule their typical strategy of selecting the ‘BPA,’
something McCarron wasn’t in the eyes of many given that he was a consensus
second round pick. Nonetheless, his physical attributes alone should get
him to the NHL and if his offensive game can develop (scouts are torn on the
amount of potential he has there), he might still become a top six forward.
The decision to spurn Western Michigan to play junior hockey is one that had
been widely speculated the past couple of days. The NCAA schedule is much
shorter than that of the CHL while McCarron wouldn’t be able to fight in college
either. In junior, he should be able to make better use of his physical
game. On the flip side, he’s going to a team with a lot of offensive
players that are likely to return so he probably isn’t going to be thrust into a
top role, something that was expected to happen before too long had he gone the
college route. That said, the Knights paid a hefty price to acquire the
big winger (three conditional second round picks and a fifth rounder) so he
should get ample chances to prove his worth. London is hosting the
Memorial Cup this year so he should have the chance to see plenty of playoff
action as well.
Although the contract officially begins this year, it will ‘slide’ unless he
plays in nine NHL games in 2013-14. The same can be said for the 2014-15
campaign so if he plays out his junior career, the end of this three year deal
will actually come at the end of 2017-18.
In other news Thursday, the Hamilton Bulldogs announced that they have signed
centre Ben Duffy to a one year, two-way (AHL/ECHL) contract. Duffy spent
the past five seasons with the PEI Rocket of the QMJHL and led the team in
scoring in each of his final three seasons. In 2012-13, he scored 39 goals
and added 71 assists for 110 points which not only led his team but also the
league. He joins Stephan MacAulay as QMJHL graduates to sign with the
Bulldogs this week. Duffy had previously committed to the University of
New Brunswick in the CIS.