While fans look on to see how the likes of Brendan Gaunce, Bo Horvat and Hunter Shinkaruk have progressed since they last saw them, perhaps the first-rounder that people know the least about is turning heads on the ice.
With his combination of speed and skill, Jared McCann is showing people why the Canucks made him the 24th overall pick just over a week ago.
“He’s quick, he jumps into holes and he is smart,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning. “His release on his shot is second to none. He is a young guy that needs to get a bit stronger and build his body up, but he has the head and the skillset to evolve into a Top 6 forward for us at some point.”
With the enormous upside that McCann has, it was no surprise that he saw himself ranked 10th among North American skaters on Central Scouting’s final rankings. But he slipped in the draft, which was a pleasant surprise for the Canucks. For whatever reason, teams stayed away from McCann on Draft Day, but they may already be regretting it.
“I have had two or three calls from other general managers inquiring about him since we drafted him,” said Benning. “We are going to protect our young guys, they are part of our future, and those conversations didn’t last very long.”
“Those teams missed out,” said McCann, who had 62 points in 64 games with the Soo Greyhounds last season. “I am in Vancouver and couldn’t be happier to be in the Canucks organization.”
And the Canucks couldn’t be happier to have him. But who is Jared McCann? Sure, we know what he can do on the ice, but what’s he like off the ice?
He was born and raised in Stratford, Ontario.
“It’s a small town and you know everybody,” he said. “It’s frozen a lot of the time so we played hockey all the time growing up. A lot of outdoor hockey.”
He has two brothers, Justin and Jordan, and one sister, Jaimie. His parents, Erin and Matt, own a construction company, where Jared works during the summer.
“I build fences with a couple other guys. I am not really allowed to drive the big trucks yet.”
He compares his style of play to that of Patrice Bergeron.
“I like that two-way centreman mentality he has. He is very cautious defensively but is not afraid to jump up in the rush.”
When he was 10 he went on a two-week cruise to the Caribbean and his favourite movie is Avatar. He is very superstitious, as you may already know. He takes an ice bath prior to every game, just for good luck, after doing it once and scoring a hat trick.
He took some heat on Twitter on Draft Day for his answer during an interview with TSN’s James Duthie. When Duthie asked him “what does this moment mean to you?” the nervous McCann responded with “It’s amazing. I never thought of being a Vancouver Canuck, but it is what it is. I am very excited and very honoured to be part of the organization.”
“That came off wrong,” he said. “I went back and I saw that interview and the fans had every right to be mad. I definitely answered the question wrong; it was more to do with where I was picked. I apologize for that.
“I have never been on TSN or anything like that before, so it was kind of new to me. I wasn’t really ranked as high as some of the other guy’s so I wasn’t used to the media attention. I definitely need to work on my talking skills.”
There you have it. Jared McCann, ladies and gentlemen. One of the newest, and proudest, members of the Canucks family.