McCartney was originally selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the seventh round (204th overall) of the 2020 NHL Draft, having played his junior hockey with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League.
After being selected by the Coyotes, McCartney returned to Brandon to further his development - putting up impressive numbers in a shortened season while also being handed the coveted alternate captain’s ‘A’ for the season.
In 24 games with the Wheat Kings this season, McCartney scored 13 goals and had 37 total points - placing him as the top points producer on his team while also seeing him sit second in total points in the entire league, behind Vegas Golden Knights prospect Peyton Krebs.
His season total sees him combine for 61 goals and 151 total points in his 205 regular-season games in the WHL, with a further seven (two goals, five assists) in 14 playoff appearances for the Wheat Kings.
The 6-foot, 183lbs left winger’s strong showing in 2021 earned him a stint with the Coyotes’ AHL affiliates, the Tucson Roadrunners, where he again impressed and even scored on his debut, going on to register five total points (one goal, four assists) in just four regular-season games, even making a single appearance in the post-season.
The plan for McCartney is clear, now that he has been signed to his entry-level deal, with Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong keen to see how his development progresses with a full season with the Roadrunners since McCartney will turn 20 years old in July and will be able to fully kick-start his professional career in the desert.
The Coyotes have had some luck with developing players within their system thanks to the Roadrunners, seeing the likes of Conor Garland and Michael Bunting step up to the NHL in a positive way, with both players even representing their countries (the USA and Canada respectively) at the IIHF World Championships this year.
McCartney, who was drafted as an over-ager in last year’s late draft, could very well be another prospect the Coyotes see as having NHL potential despite being taken in the last round, and the first step towards achieving that goal will be in Tucson.