The last of the Montreal Canadiens’ restricted free agents is signed, as Michael McCarron has come to terms on a new deal with his team. The Canadiens reported a one-year, two-way extension with the forward. The deal carries a minimum $700K salary at the NHL level and a $125K salary at the AHL level, with $150K guaranteed. McCarron will be an RFA with arbitration rights again next summer, though he opted to not exercise those rights this offseason.
McCarron, 24, has had somewhat of a backwards pro career thus far. A 2013 first-round pick, McCarron was a rare prospect who had spent considerable time with both the U.S. National Team Development Program and at the Canadian major junior level, excelling in both places by using his massive 6’6″, 220-lb. frame at both ends of the ice. McCarron turned pro in 2015 and played in 20 games with Montreal as a rookie. He then played in 31 more with the Habs as a sophomore. However, while the team had given him more than a fair shake, the production had not matched the opportunity. By the end of 2017-18, a season spent mostly in the minors, McCarron had just eight points to show for 69 NHL games. As a result, he spent the entirety of this past season with the AHL’s Laval Rocket.
Montreal hopes that McCarron’s size and the scoring ability he has flashed in the minors will eventually come together into an effective NHL contributor. However, until that happens consistently in the AHL, McCarron is unlikely to be back with the Canadiens on a regular basis. CapFriendly currently projects the big right winger to be in the minors this season. He won’t be alone though; Montreal currently has 25 players listed on their NHL roster via CapFriendly, a number that will have to be thinned in training camp. It’s also fair to speculate that, with all of their RFA’s signed and cap space remaining despite the overloaded roster, that the Canadiens could go back on the hunt this off-season for yet another NHL piece, after a swing and a miss on their Sebastian Aho offer sheet.