The big man has fought hard to forge an NHL career, but the Nashville Predators may no longer have the space for Michael McCarron.
Michael McCarron Predators 2022-2023 Season Review
McCarron played for both the Predators and the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals last season and also spent some time not playing at all. He logged 16 games with the Admirals and 32 with the Predators, and voluntarily entered the NHL’s Player Assistance Program on December 11th, returning on January 18th. The program is confidential and provides assistance through the NHL and NHLPA for players and their families for mental health and substance abuse.
First, that’s a crazy season. McCarron played in the two best hockey leagues in the world, was able to recognize that he needed assistance and take it, then come back and again played in the two best hockey leagues in the world. That itself deserves applause.
McCarron did what he does in the AHL (16 games, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, 28 PIMS) and then in the NHL played 32 games recording two goals and 2 assists for 4 points and added 24 penalty minutes.
At 6’6″ 232 pounds, you notice McCarron when he’s out there for the Predators, even if he didn’t manage to do much else. He averaged 10:33 on the ice per game and threw 73 hits. That’s been in line with his previous Predators years, as well as well as his infrequent stints in Montreal. He did however manage to up his faceoff win % to 59.4 and was typically a part of a very good Predators penalty-killing unit.
2021-2022 was McCarron’s best year, as he managed 7 goals and 7 assists for 14 points in 51 games, where he also had 70 PIMs, 116 hits, and was a +10.
Michael McCarron Predators 2023-2024 Camp and Season Outlook
Now 28 years old, McCarron has been around the league long enough to put it all together. He’s a 4th line player who is good at the faceoff dot, has a strong body that will stand up and scrap, and even has some scoring touch. You can make an argument that McCarron can find a spot most nights on most NHL teams. The thing is, it is getting harder and harder to make that argument on the Predators.
With the additions of Denis Gurianov, Gustav Nyquist, and Ryan O’Reilly the forward depth has increased greatly. You have those three who automatically earn spots, then add in that Thomas Novak, Luke Evangelista, Juuso Parssinen, and Philip Tomasino all figure to be full-time lineup guys now as well.
Then you have your returning regulars in Forsberg, Sissons, Trenin, and Glass. There are maybe two forward spots left, and one of them might be in the press box.
Now McCarron has an advantage in that he has size on all of them, and has developed his skills at the faceoff dot. If he wins his draws, throws his weight around, and can be part of the penalty kill, why not keep playing him?
With the intangibles that he brings to the table and the fact that a full 82 games from him likely yields at least 20 points, McCarron should be able to secure a roster spot to start the season. Keeping it will be his biggest challenge.