Prospect report: McCarthy feels he has a lot to offer in the NHL
Hartley favourite competing in Flames camp on a pro tryout contract
D Steve McCarthy
* Size: six-foot-one, 200 pounds
* Age: 31 * Home town: Trail, B.C.
* Last season: Zurich ZCS Lions (National League A) — 10 points in 27 games
* The Skinny
Smooth enough that he played a little as a 15-year-old for the WHL Edmonton Ice. (“That seems like a long time ago. It goes by quick.”) A first-round pick in 1999, 23rd overall, McCarthy’s pro career never took off. He played bits and pieces for the Chicago Blackhawks. He dressed for 51 games for the Vancouver Canucks in 2005-06, before being traded to the Atlanta Thrashers, where, as fate would have it, he met Bob Hartley. Injuries, however, derailed whatever momentum he’d built up. “My last year in Atlanta, I played with a torn ab and had surgery at the end of the year,” said McCarthy. “Then I went to Russia and I tore my groin off the bone. Then I tried to come back with the (AHL) Chicago Wolves, blew out my knee — ACL, MCL, meniscus. Then I went to Finland and, 20 games in, I blew out my shoulder . . . had surgery on that. It’s been a lot. But it’s something I’m proud of, that I’ve bounced back. I feel great.”
Seasoned, McCarthy could be a trusted piece of the Flames’ back-end. “Keep it simple,” he said of his philosophy. “Be responsible defensively. I think I can play a little bit in every situation. If you need me to penalty kill, I can do that. If you need to throw me out on the power play here and there, that’s something I can do. As you get older, you pride yourself on an all-round game, just doing a little bit of everything. Just being a responsible player.” Player and coach are well-acquainted, which is also meaningful.
There’s not much room at the inn. In camp are 11 defenders, eight of whom are on one-way deals. Now McCarthy needs to set himself apart, quickly, in a short camp. “I’ve got an opportunity,” he said, “and I’m trying to make the best of it.”
As McCarthy well knows, if he doesn’t perform, even his relationship with Hartley can’t save him. “He’ll be the first one to send me home,” said McCarthy. “If you’re not pulling your weight, it doesn’t matter. Every player should take that to heart . . . each day you have to bring it.” He spent the first half of the season with AHL Abbotsford, with 10 points in 30 games.
“I think I have something to offer. A little bit of experience. I haven’t been in the league since 2007-08, but I feel healthy and I feel I can bring something to a team.”
— Steve McCarthy
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