Our Florida Panthers T25U25 countdown rolls on with the second of the two players on the list not drafted by the Cats.
#5: Jared McCann
Team: Florida Panthers
Drafted in 2014, 1st Round (24th Overall)
The Vancouver Canucks selected Jared McCann with the 24th pick in the 2014 Entry Draft after he put up 62 points in 64 games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. After being drafted, McCann returned to the OHL in 2014-15 and produced an 81-point season. In 2015-16, he made the Canucks out training camp and appeared in 69 games, totaling 9 goals and 9 assists as an NHL rookie.
On May 25, 2016, Vancouver traded him with a second and a fourth round pick in 2016 draft to the Panthers for defenseman Erik Gudbranson and a 2016 fifth-round pick. A move that left a sou taste in the mouth of many a Panther fan.
McCann had an up and down season in his first year with his new organization. In 29 games with the big club, he notched just one goal and added 6 assists. In 42 AHL games with the Springfield Thunerbirds, McCann was more productive, totaling 11 goals and 14 assists while racking up a somewhat surprising 55 PIM.
2017-18 saw McCann return to full-time NHL duty as played in 68 games and bagged 9 goals and set new career-bests with 19 helpers and 28 points. This slight uptick in offensive productive compared to his rookie campaign in Vancouver shows that McCann is improving as he matures.
With two full seasons now under his belt, McCann could be ready to fulfill the promise that made him a first round draft pick. He has the inside track to be the club’s third line center, or if the highly-touted Henrik Borgstrom claims the job - be on his wing, and as the club’s depth improves he could find himself with the linemates that can advantage of his above average play-making skills.
As we’ve mentioned numerous times in the countdown, the competition for spots in the bottom-six will be fierce, but I would expect McCann, who collected six points in the club’s final five games, to make the team and eclipse the numbers he produced last season.
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