Michael McCarron, the Canadiens’ first-round draft pick in 2013, was among 15 players released from the Team USA national junior evaluation camp Tuesday in Lake Placid, N.Y.
The Canadiens selected the 6-foot-6, 238-pound right-winger with the 25th overall pick at the 2013 NHL draft. In 66 regular-season games with the OHL’s London Knights last season, McCarron had 14 goals and 20 assists along with 120 penalty minutes.
McCarron told The Gazette’s Brenda Branswell earlier this summer that the biggest adjustment for him playing in the OHL after being part of the U.S. National Team Development Program in 2012-13 was the amount of games. He played 59 games with the U.S. program followed by 78 last season, including playoffs, with London.
“I had a pretty tough start there with a couple of things I had to get used to,” McCarron told Branswell. “And then come Christmas I was a little upset (with my play). I had to pick it up. And the second half I thought I played pretty well.
“I would say pretty average season,” McCarron said, adding he expects to play all next season the way he did in the second half in 2013-14 and that he needs to get faster.
“I’m a big body,” he told Branswell. “I’ve got to get my legs under me and I’ve got to get a lot stronger.”
Asked what part of his game he felt improved the most this year, McCarron said his feet and speed.
“And also just going to the net and using my body more,” he told Branswell. “Because when I first got here I saw everybody dangling and I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I gotta do that’ and obviously it didn’t work.
“So I’ve just got to keep playing my game, being a big body down low and going to the net with the puck and stuff like that. So if I keep doing that I’ll have no issues.”
Team USA coach Mark Osiecki said making the cuts from the Lake Placid camp wasn’t easy.
“That’s the toughest part of it,” he told NHL.com about the cuts. “There’s a lot of good hockey players. Every kid here is a talented hockey player and they’re going to be talented hockey players in the future. It’s the unfortunate part of it right now, you’re trying to trim it down a bit to look at other players. The players sent home, not by any means are they off and not an option. They’ll definitely be looked at. They’re tremendous hockey players.”
(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)