Canadiens first rounder Michael McCarron chooses OHL over NCAA

Bruce Bennett

Another top player has chosen junior hockey over college.

Montreal Canadiens first round pick Michael McCarron is passing on college hockey to play for the London Knights in the OHL, according to the London Free Press. McCarron was committed to play for Western Michigan, which is coached by former Kings and Blues coach Andy Murray, but the 25th overall pick in this year's draft has opted for the OHL instead.

McCarron was drafted by the Belleville Bulls in the 2011 OHL Draft, but he decided to play with the U.S. national development program instead. But the Knights traded for McCarron's rights in 2012 and now that he has chosen to play in the OHL, he will get to play for London.

That the Knights own McCarron's rights probably influenced his decision somewhat. The club has done a phenomenal job churning out talent in recent years, and goal-scoring talent at that, bucking the stereotype of physical and fighting types that come out of the league. Jarred Tinordi is the latest player to go from the Knights to the NHL, and he did it with the Canadiens, contributing down the stretch and in the playoffs years before most expected him to be NHL ready.

By choosing to play in the OHL, McCarron will get far more games than he would have at Western Michigan. The Knights are hosts of the 2014 Memorial Cup, setting McCarron up for a season that should see him play more than 80 games.

Several players have eschewed college hockey for junior hockey in recent years and McCarron is just the latest. The Knights in particular have had success luring players to them and away from the college game, reeling in Dakota Mermis, Anthony Stolarz and Alex Broadhurst last year alone.

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