Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2019 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at American defenceman Case McCarthy.
Part of an exceptionally deep United States National Team Development program squad, Case McCarthy did not always see prime minutes on the blue line. Even strength minutes were often split equally amongst all six defenders. He also did not see a lot of power play time. Despite that, McCarthy still had a strong season, putting up five goals and 24 assists for 29 points in 62 games. He was also part of the US squad at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships, putting up one goal and four points in six games and helping the team to a bronze medal.
Last season, McCarthy was an alternate captain on the Under-17 US NTDP squad. He scored four goals and 18 points in 41 games. He also added two assists in six tournament games at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, winning a gold medal. McCarthy is committed to attending Boston University in the fall and playing college hockey with the Terriers. Should he change his mind and opt to go the CHL route, his rights are owned by the OHL’s Sarnia Sting.
Case McCarthy Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Right
Born January 9th, 2001 — Clarence Center, New York
Height 6’1″ — Weight 198 lbs [185 cm/90 kg]
McCarthy could use some work on his skating. While he is not a speedster, he has decent speed and acceleration going forward. His stride is powerful and he can fight through checks and is tough to knock off the puck. His balance is also very good for his age. He battles hard along the boards and in front of the net. McCarthy also has good agility and his side-to-side movement allows him to stay in front of attackers. However, he needs to work on his backwards skating. Lack of speed can be an issue, and he can be beaten to the outside by opponents who are on the rush.
McCarthy is a very good passer. He moves the puck up the ice quickly, making a smart first pass to start the transition game. He is not likely to lead the rush and stickhandle through the neutral zone, but he is not afraid to join as a trailer after getting the puck up to the forwards. His vision and poise are also important as they help McCarthy to control the puck at the blue line and quarterback the play. His agility helps him to open up passing and shooting lanes, and he is able to find open teammates and set them up for scoring chances.
McCarthy also has an excellent slap shot and one-timer. He gets a good flex on his stick and generates a ton of power. His agility also allows him to walk the line and open up shooting lanes. McCarthy understands how to keep the puck low and on the net. This provides teammates with the opportunity to stand in front of the net, set up screens, get deflections and pounce on rebounds. The biggest issue is the fact that he lacks the ability to skate the puck up the ice and out of tricky situations.
McCarthy is a physical defenceman. His agility and edgework allow him to explode into hits and attackers must keep their head up coming down his end of the ice. He needs to improve his skating to defend the rush though. He is good at working along the boards and clearing the front of the net in his own end. McCarthy contains the cycle well. He is not afraid to block shots or to use his long stick to cut down passing lanes. He needs to improve his positioning without the puck.
Projection and Comparison
McCarthy has the potential to develop into a two-way NHL defenceman. He may never drive the offence but can chip in on a second power-play unit and provide some scoring. If he can improve his skating, he has the size and skills to be a shutdown defender. He already has good strength when facing fellow teenagers, but time at Boston University will allow him to continue to bulk up and play this gritty and physical game at the pro level. McCarthy’s game is reminiscent of Marc Methot but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Case McCarthy that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
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