ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Jared McIsaac is the No. 13-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.
Jared McIsaac could become the second player from the Halifax Mooseheads to be selected in the first round by the Colorado Avalanche in the last five years.
Born in Truro, Nova Scotia, McIsaac played some of his youth hockey in Cole Harbour, the hometown of Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon. Like MacKinnon, McIsaac also stayed close to home while with the Mooseheads, who traded up four spots to select him second overall in the 2016 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft.
MacKinnon was one of the best players in the QMJHL when he played for Halifax, putting up 153 points (63 goals and 90 assists) in 102 games before being selected first overall by Colorado in the 2013 NHL Draft.
McIsaac has earned a similar reputation, though as a defenseman, his statistical numbers are a bit lower than MacKinnon's. He still led all blueliners on the Mooseheads with 47 points (nine goals and 38 assists) in 65 games and finished tied for 10th among all league D-men in scoring.
McIsaac is now looking to take the next step in his young career that might someday lead to a spot on an NHL roster.
At the beginning of the season, McIsaac earned himself an A rating in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2018 draft--one of only nine defensemen to receive that high of a rating.
He finished as Central Scouting's 13th-ranked North American skater after closing out the 2017-18 campaign with four points (all assists) in nine games during the Mooseheads' playoff run.
"McIsaac is a good puck mover and sees many options on zone exits," said Troy Dumville of NHL Central Scouting to NHL.com. "He's good at distributing the puck on the power play, and he plays top-pairing minutes."
Video: Jared McIsaac Scouting Report
On his playing style, McIsaac told NHL.com: "I like to play physically and to contribute offensively and defensively. I'm willing to play any role."
McIsaac's ascension into possibly a first-round pick wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for Halifax head coach Jim Midgley.
Midgley has worked with McIsaac since 2015 when he coached Team Nova Scotia's under-16 squad. The two were reunited for the 2016-17 campaign when Midgley was the defensive assistant coach for the Mooseheads. McIsaac put up 32 points (four goals and 28 assists) in 59 games that season and went on to be named the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year.
"We're really happy with his progress," Midgley said to NHL.com. "He's a local guy, from Nova Scotia, so we've watched him grow up. He's got an elite package. He's a really good skater, he has good hockey sense and he moves the puck well. He's just got to be consistent with it, and we're working with him."
With his 6-foot-1 frame and weighing in at 196 pounds, McIsaac could be a force to reckon with at the next stage. On top of that, the Maritimer is working hard to improve all aspects of his game.
"Jared wants to be better every day," said Midgley. "He wants to work on his shot, he wants to improve his shot and the defensive side of [his game] too. It's going to come. It's a process. We understand that, and we're doing our best to get him better."
McIsaac is trying to accomplish something that other great players have already done with the Mooseheads, and that is to be a first-round selection. With his work ethic and dedication to the game, it's not hard to see him having success in the future.