Now, let’s talk about the skill set McTavish is bringing to the Ducks if everything breaks the right way. Most notably, McTavish can shoot the puck. He already has enough power, and accuracy, on his wrist shot to score at range against men (in the Swiss leagues).
As he continues to get stronger, it’s very likely that this will further improve. There’s no reason to suggest he won’t be able to overpower netminders in the NHL as he continues to adapt.
Perhaps more important, as a scorer, is that he has the creativity and hands to completely fool netminders with his shot, and the same ability to gift open looks to his teammates. Personally, I think his best work is in close, potting rebounds, and whether that works alongside Max Comtois or in addition to him on the roster will be determined by the coaching staff.
Nonetheless, at present, Max Comtois is probably the only real in the paint threat on the Ducks offensive end, with no disrespect intended towards Zegras. Perreault may be on the way and now the newly drafted Sasha Pastujovis there to give us hope.
However, there’s no doubt that creating a critical mass of quality prospects should be the aim of any franchise. Thus, adding a pure goal scorer like McTavish simply creates further options for the Ducks moving forward.
We should also discuss the versatility of McTavish as an offensive threat. Yes, he’s a shooter at heart, but he can make plays with the best of them. Yes, he can win draws, but that’s no reason not to slide him to the wing in a pinch.
At this stage of the Ducks rebuild, having versatility can only be considered a boon for the franchise. As the rebuild gets closer to completion they can start actively targeting positions of need. However, for now, simply finding guys who can do multiple things well, will allow each player to find a niche they can make their own.
In essence, this is the easy part of the rebuild, and including a player who can score in close and from far is the low-hanging fruit every rebuilding team wants to start with. McTavish provides a unique enough toolkit, that he can be molded into whatever the Anaheim Ducks need him to be. There are some frightening thoughts amongst that if the Ducks try and make him Ryan Getzlaf or Ryan Kesler, and don’t let him be Mason McTavish, but that’s a worry for another day.
Back to McTavish’s scoring acumen, it’s also worth noting that McTavish has a pretty good one-timer that he can certainly still work on. It’s been a growing trend with the Ducks offensive players Murray has drafted in recent history, and McTavish continues that trend.
Fans have been clamoring for years about the lack of one-time threats, and all of a sudden, the Ducks now have Drysdale from the blue line, and will soon have Perreault and McTavish upfront. It’s not yet an embarrassment of riches, but it’s not a bad place to be for a team that has lacked this skill set for the best part of a decade.
Taken together, we can say that his ability to shoot is probably the thing that fans should get most excited about right now. However, McTavish does have other attributes that fans will love: A strong forecheck, and a strong cycle game. He’s a “Duck’s hockey” type of player, and I think we should absolutely appreciate that while we can.