If you are catching up, Max Zimmer is the 15th article in the ‘Back to School’ series which is checking in on all of the Carolina Hurricanes prospects either below the AHL level or just moving up the AHL for the 2017-18 season. You can find a clickable menu of the previous articles HERE.
Today’s ‘Back to School’ article returns to the NCAA ranks and makes the first stop back in the Midwest with a check in on University of Wisconsin forward and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Max Zimmer.
Zimmer was the Hurricanes’ fourth-round pick in the recently completed 2017 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.
Interview with Wisconsin Head Coach Tony Granato
About the interviewee
Tony Granato is in his second season as the Head Coach for the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team. He joined Wisconsin after 13 years as either an assistant or a head coach at the NHL level, including three years as the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche and his most recent stint as an assistant coach for the Detroit Red Wings. Prior to his coaching career, Granato’s accolades and accomplishments as a player included a 13-year NHL career, four 30-goal seasons in the NHL, an Olympic appearance for Team USA and a Masterton Trophy. He will also coach the US Men’s Hockey Team in the 2018 Olympics.
Interview on Max Zimmer
For those who prefer to listen instead of read, we have a special treat in that Tony Granato’s interview on Hurricanes prospect Max Zimmer comes in the form of a 5-minute audio interview.
Interview with Todd Milewski from the Wisconsin State Journal
About the interviewee
Todd Milewski (Twitter=@Todd Milewski) covers the University of Wisconsin for the Wisconsin State Journal and has covered college hockey for USCHO.com since 1998. See Todd’s Badgers coverage at madison.com.
Interview on Max Zimmer
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Max Zimmer’s freshman year in 2016-17 at the University of Wisconsin? What were the highlights of his season?
Todd Milewski: Max had what some might consider a prototypical freshman season in that he had some bright spots but also struggled as the season went on against older, stronger opponents. I think Badgers coaches recognized that there’s some pretty high potential with him, and they gave him regular appearances with the top three lines over the first part of the season. But as his production tailed off toward the end, he found himself on the fourth line and just trying to get ice time.
Canes and Coffee: In what areas did Max Zimmer make the greatest strides development-wise as he settled in at the NCAA, and the season progressed?
Todd Milewski: It was really a up-and-down season for him. He had games where he looked like he belonged at that level, and he had games where he was really a non-factor. The troubling part — but not necessarily unique to him as a freshman — was that his game wasn’t where it needed to be in February and March for the team to use him as a top-six forward. His biggest development probably was in the mental side of the game, where he had to learn how to handle the adversity of not having the results come the way he wanted them to. If he grows from that, all the better for him.
Canes and Coffee: Heading into the offseason and looking forward to the 2017-18 season, what areas of improvement do you see for Max Zimmer development-wise at this early stage of his career?
Todd Milewski: You probably hear this from a lot of people about young players in college, but Max needs to get stronger to make a consistent impact at the college level, just like he’ll have to do at the pro level. He has the skills to play at high levels; now he needs to add physical development to his game to give himself a good shot at success.
Canes and Coffee: What is the outlook for Max Zimmer in terms of 2017-18 in terms of likely role?
Todd Milewski: The dip in production toward the end of last season didn’t change the way Badgers coach Tony Granato was looking at Zimmer’s long-term potential. Right after the season, Granato said Zimmer was still going to be a high-level scorer in college. I imagine him as a second- or third-line player to start the season.
Canes and Coffee: Max Zimmer will have had a good 2017-18 season in terms of helping the Badgers win and also continuing his development toward the NHL if he _______________.
Todd Milewski: …Finds a way to grow from the rough finish he had last season and starts the season in good shape physically.
For past coverage on Max Zimmer including a check in on him during the 2016-17, please visit his Canes and Coffee player page HERE.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to University of Wisconsin Head Coach Tony Granato and to Todd Milewski from the Wisconsin State Journal for generously sharing their insight on Hurricanes prospect Max Zimmer!