2009-10: Max Gortz split the season between Malmo’s U20 and U18 squads and played for Sweden in the 2010 U17 World Hockey Challenge. In 26 games in the U20 SuperElit league, he scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was minus-three with 6 penalty minutes. Malmo finished eighth in the Top Eight and faced AIK in a three-game playoff series. Gortz did not skate in any games in that series. He played 23 games with Malmo’s U18 team; scoring 8 goals with 23 assists. Gortz scored 1 goal in six games as Sweden captured the bronze medal at the WHC.
2010-11: Gortz played in 40 SuperElit league games for Malmo in his second season at the U20 level and represented Sweden in U18 play – though he did not compete in the 2011 U18 World Junior Championship. Playing on a Redhawks team that featured twins Pathrik and Ponthus Westerholm, Gortz scored 9 goals with 9 assists and was minus-one with 6 penalty minutes. Malmo finished fifth in the Top Eight and fell to Skelleftea in the playoff quarterfinals. In five playoff games Gortz scored 2 goals and was plus-three with 2 penalty minutes. In eight games with Sweden’s U18 team he was plus-two with 3 assists. He played eight games for Malmo’s U18 team and had 2 goals with 1 assist.
2011-12: Gortz made his pro hockey debut – skating in 20 games for Farjestad in Sweden’s Elitserien – and was one of the top scorers for the club’s U20 squad in SuperElit league play. Averaging just under three minutes of ice time in 18 regular season games with Farjestad, he scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was minus-two. Farjestad finished sixth and made the playoffs. Gortz dressed for two playoff games; seeing limited action. In 28 regular season games for the Farjestad U20 team he scored 17 goals with 18 assists and was plus-11 with 6 penalty minutes. In six playoff games he had 4 goals with 2 assists and was plus-two. Not ranked among the 120 European skaters identified in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft, he was selected by Nashville in the sixth round (172nd overall).
2012-13: Gortz played 50 games for Farjestad in his first full SHL season. He scored 9 goals with 6 assists, tops among junior players skating for Farjestad, and was +6 with 4 penalty minutes; averaging nine minutes of ice time per game. Farjestad was second in the SHL and defeated MODO in the playoffs before falling to Lulea in the semifinals. Gortz had 2 assists and was +1 in nine playoff games. Gortz also skated for Sweden’s U20 team, scoring 2 goals with 6 assists in 10 games, but was not selected to play in the 2013 World Junior Championship. Gortz played for Farjestad’s U20 team, which defeated regular season champion Frolunda in the bronze medal game, and in 12 games, including four playoff contests, scored 9 goals with 8 assists.
2013-14: Gortz got off to a slow start in his second season with Farjestad — as he scored two goals with two assists and averaged 12 minutes of ice time in 22 games — and in December moved to Frolunda. He scored six goals and was plus-two with two penalty minutes in 18 regular season games for the second-place club but saw increased ice time in the playoffs. Gortz scored three goals, including one game-winning goal, and was minus-two in the seven-game playoff series with Linkoping. Gortz signed a three-year entry-level contract with Nashville in June 2014.
2014-15: Gortz returned to Sweden — skating for Frolunda on loan from the Predators — and was one of the leading scorers for the Indians in his first full season with the club. His 14 goals trailed only Andreas Johnson (22) and Robin Figren (16) and he was +8 with 14 assists and 6 penalty minutes in 53 regular season games. Frolunda finished second in the regular season and reached the playoff semifinals. Gortz scored 3 goals with 1 assist and was -1 with no penalties in 12 playoff games.
Gortz is a big-bodied winger who has good puck protection down low. The two-way winger is hard to contain in the dirty areas of the ice and likes to shoot the puck. He has a solid defensive game due to his sound skating abilities and good positioned in his own end of the rink. Gortz played center growing up but has adjusted to the winger position.
Gortz will attend training camp with the Predators but barring injuries or unforeseen circumstances will likely open the 2015-16 season with Nashville AHL affiliate Milwaukee. Coming off a 14-goal season, he will be expected to add some supplementary scoring for the Admirals while providing strong two-way play and some size for small area play. In terms of NHL potential, he is not likely to be a top line forward but his size and willingness to compete suggests he can be a valuable lower line forward one day.