Top 25 Under 25, #22: Max McCormick
Max McCormick finally makes the cut in our Top 25 Under 25 series.
Among the Matt Puempels and Tobias Lindbergs of the world, Max McCormick isn't exactly a household name, but he has been in the pipeline for a few years. The Ottawa Senators drafted him in the sixth round, 171st overall, in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. After a rather impressive season with the Binghamton Senators, McCormick jumped from his spot at #32 in last year's list. His play even granted him the label of rookie standout by our very own Jeff Ulmer.
In his first season with Binghamton, McCormick scored 20 points (10 G, 10 A) in 62 games. While these numbers don't necessarily jump out at you, it was his grit and energy that garnered him so much attention. He had 133 PIMs, was involved in 11 fights and yet didn't take many undisciplined penalties. His coaches praise him for his high intensity and 110% effort on the ice.
ICYMI: #Sens prospect Max McCormick talks #SensCamp, training and goals for next year. READ: http://t.co/bWSHiOxc70— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) July 21, 2015
McCormick took a different path than most NHL players, playing college hockey rather than junior. During his time at Ohio State University, he took home the CCHA Rookie of the Week award twice, and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He was also a CCHA Scholar Athlete in 2012-13. And his stats speak for themselves. In 104 NCAA games, McCormick had 78 points and 97 penalty minutes.
Although he is not exceptionally gifted in the scoring department, he plays on honest two-way game. His strongest asset is his shooting ability, but he can also set up a play, distributing the puck to all the right areas of the ice. He is also known for being feisty in the corners, and not afraid to rustle some feathers or drop the gloves, as made evident by his fight total.
While the demand for "gritty" players is certainly decreasing, McCormick could fill the role of a solid bottom-six forward in the NHL. In his scouting report, he was projected to be a second- or third-line player, but it seems unlikely he would crack the top six at this point. With the loss of Erik Condra, and the (hopeful) promotion of Mike Hoffman to top-six minutes, there could be room on the Sens roster in the next couple of seasons for a player like McCormick.