Thursday, July 24, 2014

30 Teams in 30 Days - Montreal Canadiens

La prochaine est Les Canadiens de Montreal

Michael McCarron - London Knights
After being very impressed with him at the U18's, I was quite excited to see him play for London this year. But, he was a pretty big letdown. His ice time was fairly limited this year because he just wasn't very effective. In particular, he seemed to struggle with the cerebral aspects of the game (turnovers, missed assignments, poor shot selection, etc). The skill set appears to be there because he flashed great things, but the head might not be. THAT SAID, we'd all be fools to count him out after one poor season. There have been numerous cases of players coming from the USHL or the development program with lots of hype, only for them to struggle in their first year. But most bounced back in their second, as they gained confidence (see current Canadien Jarred Tinordi). I've heard lots of great things from Montreal's development camp, suggesting that McCarron could be ready for a breakout. There will be an opportunity for him to get more ice time next year, especially on the powerplay. BUT, London is a deep team where the competition will be fierce to replace the likes of Chris Tierney, Josh Anderson, Gemel Smith, and perhaps others. So...what to expect? I think a realistic expectation is a 25/25 year, but he's certainly capable of even more than that.

Connor Crisp - Sudbury Wolves
It was a pretty good year for Crisp, who was essentially the leader of Sudbury's 2nd offensive unit. Was there a massive amount of improvement? Probably not. I think he looked noticeably more confident with the puck this year, which resulted in him being a bit of a more well rounded offensive guy who could create in a variety of ways (rather than just as a net crasher). I'd be very surprised if he's not in the AHL next year with Hamilton, where he'll take on a checking line role and try to provide a bit of scoring. Realistically, he's probably not that far from being a contributor on an NHL fourth line, but I think it'd be smart to leave him in the AHL for a bit to let him develop confidence in his offensive game at that level. He has the potential to be more than just a 4th line grinder/enforcer.

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