Gavin McCarthy – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Gavin McCarthy

2022-23 Crew: Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL)
Date of Beginning: June 2, 2005
Place of Beginning: Clarence Heart, New York, USA
Top: 6-foot-1, Weight: 181 kilos
Shoots: Proper
Place: Protection
NHL Draft Eligibility: First 12 months Eligible


Gavin McCarthy is a big-minutes defender who performed an enormous function for an underperforming Muskegon workforce that missed the USHL playoffs fully. He was the most effective offensive defender on the workforce all season and acquitted himself nicely defensively contemplating he performed your complete yr at age 17. Gavin McCarthy, Muskegon Lumberjacks (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

McCarthy was one in all 5 Lumberjacks gamers to be within the High-30 of USHL penalty minutes, regardless of lacking roughly 20 common season video games. 88 penalty minutes in 42 video games is sort of spectacular, and his imply streak might be encouraging to some NHL groups and make him a non-starter for others. His bodily type and willingness to play a imply sport is definitely one in all his standout traits.

With the Lumberjacks missing a real prime offensive defenseman, McCarthy was thrust into that function. His greatest offensive trait is his skating which permits him to move the puck up ice nicely, and he has sufficient ability to make performs on the offensive blue line each on occasion. McCarthy received’t be an NHL powerplay quarterback, missing the high-end hockey IQ and tranquility underneath stress vital for that function, however he’s nonetheless a constructive participant within the offensive zone, hitting sensible, easy passes and making the occasional ability transfer round a forechecker one-on-one.

McCarthy was good defensively this yr, together with his skating once more being his greatest trait on protection. He doesn’t learn opposing offenses all that nicely, however he performs very bodily and his skating permits him to take dangers with positioning whereas nonetheless with the ability to get again into the play. McCarthy shuts performs down nicely together with his stick and ought to be a median defensive participant within the NHL.

Associated: 2023 NHL Draft Information

With 27 factors in 42 video games, McCarthy had the fourth-most factors amongst U18 defenders within the USHL, in addition to the fourth-best per-game fee behind the likes of Andrew Strathmann (seemingly top-45 decide on this yr’s draft) and Artyom Levshunov (1st general candidate in 2024). In 5 video games for Crew USA cut up between the World Junior-A Problem and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, McCarthy solely managed one level, although he did handle to rack up 12 penalty minutes.

Scoring factors at a excessive fee will nearly definitely by no means be the hallmark of his sport, however McCarthy’s manufacturing precisely represents his contributions on a workforce that lacked a real puck-mover on the backend this yr. Nevertheless, he seemingly received’t get tons of time on the highest energy play unit of any workforce he lands on within the NHL so these factors will seemingly drop off a bit of bit.

Different THW Draft Profiles

Gavin McCarthy – NHL Draft Projection

As a stable two-way defender with a right-handed shot, McCarthy naturally has worth within the draft regardless of the questions round his hockey IQ and the translatability of his offensive sport to the NHL. I anticipate he’ll go within the early third spherical (round 70), although he might go increased if many right-handed D are chosen early and a workforce likes his bodily sport.


“McCarthy’s toolkit is one that ought to do nicely within the professional sport” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (2023 NHL Draft prospects: Bedard No. 1 on Corey Pronman’s rating, Fantilli and Michkov subsequent, March 7, 2023)

“Defensively he’s stable. He can run round a bit of bit, however he’s fairly bodily, and his skating lets him shut on performs nicely.” – Corey Pronman, The Athletic (2023 NHL Draft prospects: Bedard No. 1 on Corey Pronman’s rating, Fantilli and Michkov subsequent, March 7, 2023)


  • Glorious Physicality
  • Sturdy Skater
  • Strong (if easy) Playmaking

Beneath Building – Enhancements to Make

  • Learn Performs Faster (Tempo)
  • Monitor Opposing Attackers Higher

NHL Potential 

McCarthy has tons of NHL potential, the difficulty is that his potential ceiling isn’t all that prime. I believe there’s a extremely good likelihood he performs NHL video games, seemingly quite a lot of, however I can’t see him being greater than a second-pairing defender, and that’s a fairly rosy projection in itself. The way in which he bangs round within the defensive zone trying to find hit jogs my memory numerous Ben Chiarot, who has been a good (and polarizing) two-way defender within the NHL for fairly a while.


Threat – 1.5/5, Reward – 2.5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense – 4/10, Protection – 6/10

Awards & Achievements

  • 2022-23: WJAC-19 Champion

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