There are a number of reasons why the Halifax Mooseheads are attracting the attention of scouts this season. The main one is Jakub Voracek, a slick-skating Czech who was the top selection in the 2006 CHL Import Draft. He currently leads all QMJHL rookies with 42 points in 32 games. But, there’s another member of the Herd who’s also attracting his fair share of attention: Voracek’s linemate Logan MacMillan is in his second year with the Mooseheads and has shown remarkable improvement in his short time in the Q.
MacMillan describes himself as still trying to find his role on the team. "I just try to help out with a little of everything. Try to provide some offense, play solid defensively and just try to work hard," he told Hockey’s Future.
His coach Cam Russell agrees, calling the Charlottetown native an "all-around player, does a little bit of everything and does it well." Russell explained that despite MacMillan’s young age, he’s been given a large role with the Mooseheads this year and has grown into it. "He brings good leadership to the team and he helps on the offense. He’s the type of player you have on the ice in the last minute of a game, whether you’re up by one or down by one," said Russell. Of course, in the game of hockey, offense is everything and the coach is quick to point out that MacMillan has a strong defensive commitment to the team as well.
MacMillan has found himself being used in all roles, especially the penalty kill where he’s an important reason why the Mooseheads lead the league in that category. He has even seen time playing the point in the power play in an effort to spur the team’s play with the man advantage. The Mooseheads are currently tenth in the league in effectiveness with the extra man.
MacMillan’s success with special teams is apparent as he has scored three of his eight goals on the power play. In total, he has 24 points in 37 games, already surpassing his total of 18 points, nine of them goals, in the 62 games of his rookie year. MacMillan credits experience as the key reason for his improvement, stating "It’s a big jump from first year to second year. You’ve got the whole year of experience; you know what the league is all about. So you’re not coming into ‘No Man’s Land’ like coming into the league in first year."
Another big reason for MacMillan’s improvement is his increased role with the team, as he usually slots in as the pivot on the second line alongside frequent linemate Voracek. MacMillan calls him a phenomenal player, saying "It’s like he’s got eyes in the back of his head, some of the passes he makes. He plays at such a high pace."
MacMillan only needs to look inside his own family to see an example of NHL dreams coming true. His father, Bob played 11 seasons in the NHL and two years in the WHA during the 1970s and 1980s, finishing with 665 points in 906 total games. In his top year, he scored 108 points in 1978-79 with the Atlanta Flames. Meanwhile, Logan’s uncle Bill saw action in seven NHL seasons, scoring 151 points in 446 games. Bill also served as a head coach at the NHL level for three seasons, one with the Colorado Rockies and two with the New Jersey Devils, where he coached his younger brother.
When asked if his family’s NHL success has had any effect on his own dreams, MacMillan is reluctant to agree. "Even if they didn’t play there, I think [my dreams] would still be there. It’s in every kid’s head. [The NHL is] where they want to play," he said before admitting that the family history is "just a bonus," noting that "they give me some tips, what to expect and help along the way."
Like most draft eligible players, MacMillan still has plenty to work on before he can reach those NHL dreams. MacMillan recognizes that he has room for improvement, first with the basics, saying "I still need to improve my skating, to just get quicker right off the hop." Russell, his coach agrees, noting "With the new NHL, there’s a way hockey has changed, you have to be quick, you have to be a good skater if you want to play and be successful." As MacMillan continues to grow, the other normal gaps that plague younger players, namely strength and consistency, will no doubt also be addressed.
Although he may not be a first-round selection, MacMillan’s hard work, all-around play and dedication to the game should ensure that his name is called on June 23, 2007 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
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