After a couple stops in Finland for “Midterms” articles on goalie Eetu Makiniemi and forward Eetu Luostarinen, the series returns to the the NCAA ranks in the United States for an update on Max Zimmer who is the sixth and final college player in the Hurricanes prospect pool.
Zimmer was the Hurricanes’ fourth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Continuing with the common theme for the forward prospect pool, Zimmer is another player who projects well in terms of the combination of size/strength and skating ability. Zimmer made the jump straight from USHL into his freshman season for 2016-17 without the extra USHL preparation that is common for NCAA players. He finished the 2016-17 season with three goals and six assists in 35 games and is now in the midst of his sophomore season at the University of Wisconsin.
Interview with Ethan Levy from The Daily Cardinal
About the interviewee
Interview on Max Zimmer
Canes and Coffee: Now in his sophomore season, what has been Max Zimmer’s role for Wisconsin thus far during the 2017-18 season?
Ethan Levy: Zimmer has played in multiple different roles this season. He has played on lines 1-4, used both as a skilled player and a grinder who forechecks strong and creates offense off the dump and chase. Zimmer was not really used on the powerplay earlier in the season, but has been playing on the second power play unit for the last few weeks. Currently, Zimmer is playing on the second line, and has demonstrated skill and speed in that role over the last few weeks.
Canes and Coffee: Can you please provide a short summary of Zimmer’s 2017-18 season so far?
Ethan Levy: Zimmer has improved a lot this year. He has always had a lot of speed and skill, but earlier in the year he did not always use it constructively. Lately, though, he has been using his speed to create offense. When the Badgers are stagnant, he can create offense by driving hard and wide with his speed alone. Not only has Zimmer been creating, but he has been actually converting as well, adding points more frequently as of late. Zimmer is now firmly in the lineup, and Granato is trusting him to make an impact night in and night out.
Canes and Coffee: Moving from his freshman to sophomore season, in what areas do you notice the most progress in Max Zimmer’s development from last season to this one?
Ethan Levy: Zimmer’s progress is mainly in turning his attributes into something constructive. While he has always had speed, he is now using it to create offense. Zimmer’s main development, though, has been in his consistency. In his freshman year, and early in his sophomore year, Zimmer was not always consistent. For the last month, Zimmer has been consistently contributing both offensively and defensively.
Canes and Coffee: As Max Zimmer works to develop into an NHL player, what areas of his game still have room for improvement? What are his strengths at this stage of his development?
Ethan Levy: I think the biggest area that Zimmer can improve on is ice vision, both in terms of passing and finding empty ice. Zimmer can sometimes miss open passes. Also, when Zimmer gets in open ice, he makes really nice plays. He could improve on finding that open space without the puck though, so that he has more room to operate.
He could also improve on finishing as well. He has a lot of scoring opportunities that just don’t find their way to the back of the net.
Canes and Coffee: Is there anything else about Max Zimmer and/or his 2017-18 season that would be of interest to Carolina Hurricanes fans tracking him from afar?
Ethan Levy: Zimmer has a lot of potential, and is starting to come into that. By the end of the year, and in the coming years, he will be a consistent contributor for Wisconsin.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Ethan Levy from The Daily Cardinal for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Hurricanes prospect Max Zimmer.