One year ago, Jamie McGinn was a spare part and could do nothing more than sit back and painfully watch his San Jose Sharks get bounced from the opening round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
These days, the 21-year-old is an integral part of the Sharks' lineup. The 6-foot tall, 185-pound left wing has been a spark plug for San Jose, which hopes to take a 2-0 series lead on the Detroit Red Wings when the teams meet at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday in this Western Conference Semifinal at HP Pavilion.
"It's been a lot of fun so far," McGinn told NHL.com. "It's a dream come true. Growing up in Canada, everyone dreams of being able to get the chance to win the Stanley Cup. To have that opportunity right now is pretty amazing. The job at the end of the day is to bring home the Cup."
McGinn has spent the past two seasons bouncing back and forth between San Jose and its American Hockey League affiliate in Worcester, Mass. He received more of a full-time role in the NHL in 2009-10, going 10-3-13 with 38 penalty minutes in 59 games.
And while he couldn't crack San Jose's lineup in last year's playoffs, McGinn was able to skate with the Sharks and watch the games from the press box.
"I got to practice with the guys every day and I got the playoff feel," McGinn said. "I wanted to be in the game as bad as anything, but I learned a lot from the guys. I just kind of fed off them and soaked it all in like a sponge."
San Jose coach Todd McLellan has been extremely pleased with the progress of McGinn, who was selected in the second round (No. 36) of the 2006 Entry Draft. Not only has McGinn proved to be energetic, but he's also versatile.
"He's been a very good player for us throughout the year," McLellan said. "(There was) a lot of inconsistency with his time here with us, so that made it hard for him as a young player. But the time that he did spend here, he provided a lot of energy. I think he's very strong on loose pucks -- something we're going to need in this series because they battle very hard. He has the ability to move anywhere from first to fourth line and find a way to contribute."
First line, fourth line … it doesn't matter to McGinn. The Fergus, Ontario native just wants to play and help the Sharks move on in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"If that's my role, then I'm going to do it," McGinn said. "I'll do anything to be in the lineup. It's the role I have right now, and I'm going to roll with it, that's for sure."
McGinn has yet to notch his first NHL postseason point -- a fact he hopes to change as early as Sunday night. It's worth noting that San Jose went 8-1-1 this season when McGinn scored.
"I've got to start scoring a little more in the playoffs," he said.
"We need him to score a few more if that's what the numbers are," McLellan said. "He's got a pretty deceiving shot and will go to the net. Eventually, he's going to get rewarded."