If any Montreal Canadiens fans were hoping for a late season Michael McCarron call-up, it isn’t coming. The team announced today that McCarron’s season is over after undergoing shoulder surgery yesterday. The 23-year old forward had been playing with the Laval Rocket in the AHL, and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year.
McCarron has not turned into the player the Canadiens hoped they were getting at 25th overall in 2013, but was at least having a positive impact in the AHL. With this injury that impact on Laval is over, and there are now serious doubts about McCarron’s future in Montreal. As a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, there is a real chance that the Canadiens could decline to extend a qualifying offer to the young forward, which would allow him to search for another deal elsewhere around the league. His performance so far in the NHL doesn’t scream success in the future, but perhaps a fresh start would spark some development.
In 70 NHL games across the regular season and playoffs McCarron has recorded just eight points, and will be turning 24 before free agency begins. While the Canadiens could extend him a qualifying offer and risk arbitration, there is also the option of trying to re-sign him as an unrestricted free agent to a less expensive two-way deal. That would give him a chance to continue to play for the Rocket, where he had 21 points in 32 games this season. It’s not the end of the line for McCarron, but a major injury like this is just the latest setback in a disappointing career so far.