The CanucksArmy Mid-Term Prospect Profiles series just keeps on trucking, and today we’re bringing you our 16th ranked prospect, Utica Comets forward Michael Carcone.
We’re about halfway through the list, and Carcone is just the second undrafted prospect to come into focus. You’ll remember, the Canucks brought Carcone to a development camp and signed him not long after to a three-year entry-level contract. He’s now in the second of those two years, playing as a Suisse army knife type of player for Comets head coach Trent Cull to great effect.
— J.D. Burke (@JDylanBurke) July 9, 2016
It’s becoming clear at this stage that Carcone was well worth the Canucks’ investment. The only question now is how much more Carcone has to give, and whether there is enough there to round into form as an everyday contributor at the NHL level one day.
First, a quick review of how these rankings were formed. Seven lists, including six from Canucks Army writers (myself, J.D. Burke, Ryan Biech, Jackson McDonald, Vanessa Jang, and Janik Beichler) plus the reader rankings, were consolidated into one list. The parameters are that each prospect must:
- be under the age of 25;
- have played fewer than 25 NHL games; and
- be under contract to the Vancouver Canucks or on their reserve (e.g. as an unsigned draft choice).
Now let’s dig deep into the next member of our list.
#16: Michael Carcone
Age: 21 – Position: Forward – Shoots: Left – Height: – 5’9″ – Weight: 170 lbs
When we last checked in on Carcone, CanucksArmy’s Ryan Biech was talking to him in Penticton at the Young Stars tournament about his drive to prove everyone who passed him by in multiple draft years wrong.
“It’s kinda set in stone that I will be heading back to Utica, but for, me that’s not the mindset at all. I want to prove everyone wrong. I want a spot on the big club this year like everyone else. Going into this camp, I just want to work hard and prove everyone wrong”
I asked if trying to prove people wrong motivates him to work harder:
“My whole career has been like that. Just going through the drafts and being an undersized guy. I thrive off that, I kinda have to”
That was less than a month after CanucksArmy’s Jeremy Davis profiled Carcone as the 20th ranked prospect in the Canucks’ system. In both of those articles, the one thing that is abundantly clear is what a versatile player Carcone is. He can play all three forward positions and makes the transition to each seamlessly, and he can chip in on the penalty kill, too.
Another consistent theme was a steady improvement from game to game for Carcone, who finished his first season with the Comets a solid point per game pace and an above-even share of the goals at 5-on-5.
This year has been more of the same for Carcone, who has already set career highs in goals (12) and points (22) with seven games to go before he catches up to the 61 he appeared in for the Comets last season. He’s also shattered his previous career of 31 penalty minutes with 61 already this season.
Looking at Carcone’s production from the perspective of the pGPS (prospect graduation probabilities system) metric, he checks out as having a 14.4% chance of developing into a full-time NHL’er based on his statistical and stature-based comparable players. Members of Carcone’s pGPS cohort usually produce at a 24.9 points per 82 game season pace — about low-end third-line production.
When I reached out to CanucksArmy’s Cory Hergott, who does a fantastic job of covering the Comets on a day-to-day basis (we’re so, so spoiled to have him), he noted that Carcone plays a far bigger game than his 5-foot-9 frame would suggest he’s capable of playing. Carcone is always in the dirty areas of the ice and is never shy of the fisticuffs.
One such example of Carcone’s willingness to muck it up came in the Young Stars tournament this past September, when he took on a former teammate with the QMJHL’s Drummondville Voltigeurs, Mathieu Sevigny, in a spirited tilt. Sevigny, by the way, has three inches in height and eleven pounds on him.
I’d hate to understate Carcone’s play where it actually matters, whether it’s contributing offensively or helping at his own end, but I think that it’s the rough stuff where his NHL future — assuming it goes in that direction — lies. Carcone does a good job of getting in on the forecheck, pissing people off and then laying a beating on anyone who takes exception.
In today’s NHL, that’s exactly the type of fourth liner a team wants. Someone who is fast, battles along the walls, can chip in with the odd goal and drop the mitts when the occasion calls for it. Carcone just might be that player. To think the Canucks could find such a piece with naught but the cost of an entry-level contract is quite the accomplishment.