In a move that surprised many, the Florida Panthers traded bruising defenseman Erik Gudbranson and a fifth-round pick in 2016 to the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night for forward Jared McCann and Vancouver's second and fourth-rounders this summer.
While it hurts to see the well-liked Gudbranson head west, let's get to know the player coming back to Sunrise in the exchange.
McCann, who was rated tenth among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, was selected by the Canucks in the first round (24th overall) of the 2014 Entry Draft in Philadelphia after scoring 27 goals and 35 assists in 64 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League. The 62 points in his draft year was a 18-point increase over his first season in The Soo, when he was named to the OHL's Second All-Rookie Team.
The Stratford, ON native played one more year with the Greyhounds, again seeing a significant bump in his offensive numbers with 34 goals and 81 points. In 14 postseason games, McCann scored 6 goals and added 10 helpers before his team was eliminated in the Conference Finals by Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters.
This past season, McCann cracked the Canucks opening-night roster and made his NHL debut on the road against the Calgary Flames, finishing the game with a +1 rating. He scored his first career goal, again versus the Flames, in Vancouver's next game.
McCann got off to a pretty good start to the season, posting 6 goals and 2 assists in first 17 games. Included in that span was a two-goal game (his only multi-point effort) against the Montreal Canadiens on October 27. He cooled done after that, recording just 3 goals and 7 assists in his final 52 appearances. In his last two outings of the 2015-16 campaign, he scored a goal in a win against Los Angeles and contributed a helper in a 6-2 loss to Edmonton on April 6.
The Panthers saw McCann up close twice this season. In the first tilt between the Cats and Canucks, McCann set up a goal and went +1 as Florida won 5-4 in a shootout. He registered 5 shots on goal in Vancouver's 3-2 overtime win at Rogers Arena in the rematch.
The now 20-year-old needs to add strength and bulk to his 6' frame. He weighed in at just 179 lbs during his rookie season, which helps explain his lack of offensive effectiveness as the year went on. Another sign of the youngster being physically over-matched was his 34.2 winning percentage in the faceoff circle. That said, 9 goals and 9 assists in 69 games in your first go around in the NHL, on a non-playoff team, is certainly nothing to sneeze at.
A center in junior and during most of his time with the Canucks, Jared will have to make the switch to wing to hold down a full-time spot with the Panthers. With new GM Tom Rowe, recently stating the Cats need more scoring from their bottom-six, look for the talented McCann, who possesses fine passing skills and a deadly wrist shot, to start the season on Nick Bjugstad's line.
Here are a few tidbits about McCann courtesy of the World Wide Web:
"Jared is a highly skilled and creative playmaker, he has excellent hands and puckhandling ability. He sees the ice very well and can get the puck through traffic with great saucer passes.
"He is not a guy who will always bring you out of your seat but is dangerous every shift and at the end of the game he will quietly have a goal and three assists. Jared is an excellent penalty killer, smart and reads the play very well." – Chris Edwards, NHL Central Scouting
"Jared is a highly skilled and creative playmaker," Edwards said. "He has excellent hands and puckhandling ability. He sees the ice very well and can get the puck through traffic with great saucer passes.
"He is not a guy who will always bring you out of your seat but is dangerous every shift and at the end of the game he will quietly have a goal and three assists. Jared is an excellent penalty killer, smart and reads the play very well." – NHL.com
McCann is a gifted playmaker who skates well, accelerating quickly and with strong lateral mobility. He has a long reach and utilizes it well in all three zones. He is a two-way center with outstanding hockey IQ and his on-ice vision and decision-making are exceptional. He plays at a consistent high level with determination and a competitive edge. He is strong on face-offs and should continue to develop the supplementary aspects of his game. His lack of bulk and injury history are concerns. – Hockey’s Future