McMaster looking to break out
Beamsville’s Adam McMaster is eligible for the NHL draft in 2018. PHOTO BY: TERRY WILSON/OHL IMAGES
Adam McMaster’s sophomore season hasn’t gone according to plan thus far.
The 17-year-old Beamsville native had a respectable rookie season for the North Bay Battalion with five goals and 24 points but has been mired in a season-long slump in 2017.
McMaster has just one goal and 10 points in 23 games so far, far off the production the Battalion expected when they selected him in the first round (13th overall) of the 2016 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
“He’s an offensive player and he needs to generate offence. When you’re drafted as high as he is in the first round that’s the type of stuff that you need to do,” North Bay coach Stan Butler said. “This is a big year for him. It’s his draft year and so far it probably hasn’t gone the way he’s hoped. Hopefully he can stay with it and start to turn things around.”
McMaster certainly has the pedigree to do just that.
He is a strong skater who has scored at every other level. In 2015 he was named the Ontario Minor Hockey League South Central AAA player of the year after leading the league in goals (27) and points (53) with the Niagara North Stars minor midgets.
Later that season he played three games of junior B for the St. Catharines Falcons where he fit in nicely and even chipped in with a goal and an assist in the playoffs as a 15-year-old.
Last season he showed well at the under-17 World Hockey Challenge helping Canada to a silver medal with two goals and five points in six games.
It doesn’t help that McMaster plays in a defence-first system that seems to suffocate and stifle offensive creativity.
“It’s really frustrating when you can’t buy one,” he said last week at the Meridian Centre where the Battalion dropped a 6-1 decision to the Niagara IceDogs. “I hit two posts tonight but you just have to keep working and keep getting better every day and hopefully one day they will start to go in.
“It’s not going to go in every time. You just want to get better every day look for the spots they are giving you.”
McMaster did enjoy playing in front of a large group of family and friends. His mother organized a group of fans from Beamsville Secondary School to attend the game.
“It’s nice to come home and play in front of guys you went to high school with and obviously family,” McMaster said. “Everyone comes to supports you so that’s nice.”
McMaster is eligible for the National Hockey League draft in 2018.
“It’s in the back of my head,” McMaster said. “You try not to think about it. You dream about it but I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team win.”
McMaster is aware scouts look at more than just goals and assists.
“I’m working on my entire game trying to get bigger faster and stronger,” he said.
McMaster is a natural centre but has been used quite a bit on the wing.
“He’s probably better at centre but his strength is not there yet,” Butler said. “We’re trying to make it a little easier for him. We did the same thing with Mike Amadio, play him on the wing and see if that will help him and maybe give him a little more freedom in his own end.”
The Battalion return to St. Catharines Friday Dec. 15.