No. 20: Max McCormick (Reader Rank: 19, Last year: 22)
Fresh off making his NHL debut this season, jumping up two spots from last year and coming in at number 20 in our annual Top 25 Under 25 series is Max McCormick. While his physical playing style makes him a Binghamton fan favourite, Ottawa fans still don't know much about the hard-nosed forward.
After being drafted in the 6th round (171st overall), fans weren't expecting much of a NHL impact out of the second-year pro. But this past season, a string of bad luck injuries in Ottawa opened up an opportunity for McCormick to get the call to the big leagues. While fighting in the NHL is down, McCormick did what he could to change that statistic by getting into five scraps over his 20 games of NHL action. It seemed obvious that McCormick was the proto-typical Dave Cameron player with a lot of grit and a ton of heart. With a new coach at the helm, it remains to be seen where McCormick will slot in but he has been continually praised as a coachable team-first player.
After his second recall of the season, he notched his first career NHL goal when he picked off a poor breakout pass and buried it behind Roberto Luongo. He ended the season with two goals and two assists in 20 games in Ottawa. He also upped his production down in the AHL to 15 goals and 15 assists in 57 games.
While McCormick is still developing his scoring touch, he definitely finds a way to make his presence felt on the ice and spice things up a bit by playing a hard physical game. He doesn't back down from a challenge from larger enforcers, so I wouldn't be surprised if he's soon ready to challenge for a bottom-six role in the near future.
Back on July 1st, the Ottawa Senators signed McCormick to a two-way one-year extension worth $650K ($72.5K in the AHL), so he will again be looking for a contract next summer.