Player: Jared McCann
Born: May 3, 1996 (23 years old)
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: 185 pounds
Birthplace: Stratford, Ontario (Canada)
Draft: 2014 VAN, 1st Round (24th Overall)
2018-19 Stats: 78GP/19G/16A/35P (With Pittsburgh: 32GP/11G/6A/17P)
Contract status: McCann is under contract for one more season at $1.25 million AAV. He is scheduled to become a restricted free agent next offseason with arbitration eligibility should the Penguins not sign him to a new deal before then.
The past: This was McCann’s first stint with the Penguins after coming over from the Panthers in a February blockbuster trade. Before the season, SBNation Panthers site Litter Box Cats listed McCann as the Panthers #5 player under 25 years old.
Regular Season History
This was McCann’s third full NHL campaign since breaking into the league back in 2015 with the Vancouver Canucks. Good health saw McCann register career highs in games played (78), goals (19), and points (35). He totaled 18 points in 46 games with the Panthers then nearly equaled that output in just 32 games after joining the Penguins in February. Prior to this year he never hit double digits in goals scored or topped 30 points in a season. The Penguins will hope this trend continues for McCann heading into next season.
|Corsi (EV)||Fenwick (EV)||PDO (EV)||Zone Starts (EV)|
|Season||Age||Team||Lg||GP||TOI||CF||CA||CF%||CF% rel||FF||FA||FF%||FF% rel||oiGF||oiSH%||oiGA||oiSV%||PDO||oZS%||dZS%|
For the most part, McCann has been a negative possession player throughout his career but it’s hard to say at the moment whether that is more about him or the teams he has played on. Based on what we saw when he joined the Penguins it’s a safe bet it was more the latter causing his possession numbers to dip.
According to Natural Stat Trick, when on the ice with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel, McCann posted a CF% of 53.3 and 51.4 respectively. When that trio made up the Penguins top line late in the season, they produced terrific possession numbers together.
Going into next season, it’s hard to say exactly where McCann will slot in for the Penguins at least to start the year, but his positive swing in possession numbers should be a good sign for the Penguins and McCann himself.
This season was McCann’s first taste of Stanley Cup playoff hockey and it could not have gone worse for the young forward. He took a hard hit in Game 1 against the Islanders that forced him out of Game 2 with an upper-body injury. He was able to return once the series shifted to Pittsburgh but was not the same player we saw leading up to the playoffs. His lone point came in Game 4 with a secondary assist on a goal by Jake Guentzel.
Here’s to hoping McCann has a better playoff experience next season.
It’s pretty easy to spot when McCann joined the Penguins as opposed to his time with the Panthers this season. In four months with the Panthers, McCann totaled just eight goals before exploding for 11 in two months after coming over the Penguins in the Derick Brassard trade.
March was his biggest month offensively with six goals and 11 points across 16 games. That was also around the time he started playing on the top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel which I’m sure played a factor in his scoring outburst. He also registered three shorthanded goals with the Penguins, including a beauty against the Dallas Stars which you can see below.
Just a note before we continue, besides the first chart all of the following charts will show data for McCann’s time with only the Penguins this season.
This was easily McCann’s healthiest season to date and it showed with his career high 78 games played. What time he did miss was not for an extended period like he went through in his age 20 and 21 seasons. With the Panthers he played mostly a bottom six role but he moved up the lineup when he came over to Pittsburgh.
McCann saw a flurry of linemates in his 32 games with the Penguins this season but he did find steady play on the top line with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel for a while then became the regular second line center flanked by Phil Kessel and Teddy Blueger following an injury to Evgeni Malkin.
He was a mainstay on the Penguins penalty kill and has the shorthanded goals to prove it. As his time in Pittsburgh went along he saw some time on the second power play unit but he was never able to cash in on the man advantage this season.
Not much going on in the high danger area with McCann on the ice but these are all small sample sizes. The reds around the face-off circles are nothing to scoff at but hopefully that blue in the slot can change tones next season. Having some time in the Penguins system under his belt and a full offseason to gain more familiarity will hopefully help. Spending a bulk of his time in the top-six should also provide a boost.
The Penguins are a positive possession team who generates a lot of shots and scoring chances. Not much else to say about this. Given how McCann barely saw an average of 15 minutes a game with the Penguins it should be no surprise they did good work when the bigger lines were on the ice.
For the most part, the high danger areas are clear with McCann on the ice playing 5v5. Spending a good chunk of time with positive possession players such as Crosby and Guentzel can have that effect. Overall, McCann was very solid in his own zone during his time in Pittsburgh this season. Let’s hope we see more of that next year.
We have discussed this before but it bears repeating. Given the Penguins style of play, opponents are going to have their chances on offense. Trying to create offensive chances is a high risk, his reward scenario and luckily the Penguins are more often than not reaping the reward.
Besides the one the area right in close, the Penguins penalty kill was able to keep high danger shots to a minimum when McCann was on the ice. Always a good sign for a guy who is a major part of the penalty kill operation.
Artistry in motion. pic.twitter.com/OBS0NWJuTr— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) March 24, 2019
When you think of the goals McCann scored in a Penguins sweater this season this will likely be the first one that comes to mind. McCann was able to use his momentum to skillfully corral a pass that was slightly behind him and set himself up for a good luck on his backhand that found a hole in the goaltender for his third shorthanded tally with the Penguins.
Wait for the slowdown— #StanleyCup on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) March 11, 2019
Jared McCann puts the @penguins up 2-0! Stream the game → https://t.co/JmSYhuXxJj pic.twitter.com/LOQUZJsaSD
Before that dandy in Dallas, McCann had another gorgeous shorthanded tally against the eventual Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins who were on a 19-game point streak at the time. He also managed to deke longtime Penguins nemesis Jaroslav Halak out of his jockstrap with a slight shoulder fake.
McCann right before the game: "I want to prove to the coaches and owners that they made the right decision... I hold myself to very high expectations and this team does the same."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 8, 2019
So far, so good @jaredmccann19! pic.twitter.com/vGx9CCIDZ5
How about a hat trick of shorthanded goals to round out McCann’s highlights? Very early on in his Penguins tenure, McCann came back to haunt his old team with a shorthanded snipe against the Florida Panthers less than a week after being traded by them to Pittsburgh.
McCann lives up to the hype that led the Canucks to drafting him in the first round back in 2014. He continues to develop and his offensive game continues to trend in the right direction. He’s likely to be a guy that moves up and down the lineup depending on what the team’s needs are on any given night, but if he sees increased time on the top line alongside Crosby and Guentzel it’s not out of the realm of possibility to suggest McCann becomes a 50+ point player.
He turns out to be exactly what the Penguins have been missing in that 3C role since Nick Bonino left in 2017. It’s no secret the Penguins have been searching for a Bonino replacement for two years now and everything they have thrown at the wall during that time as failed to stick. Maybe McCann is finally the guy who comes in a becomes that missing piece the Penguins so desperately need. He can occasionally jump up the lineup when needed but filling that 3C hole full time is the real goal.
Worst Case 2019-20
Just a complete flameout. Nothing McCann has done since coming to Pittsburgh suggests this is what will happen but hockey is an unpredictable game. Given how highly the Penguins rated McCann when they traded for him, having another potential Bonino replacement fall by the wayside would be devastating for the Penguins hopes of winning another Stanley Cup next season.
Every time I think about Jared McCann or the trade that brought him to Pittsburgh, I go back to this tidbit from Josh Yohe of The Athletic following the season:
The Penguins love this kid. He’s the reason they made a multiplayer trade with Florida in February. Oh, they liked Bjugstad, but this guy was the target all along. You saw why in his brief time with the Penguins. McCann could project as the third-line center or as a top-six winger.
This shows just how highly the Penguins thought of McCann and why they ended up making the deal in the first place. There’s no question it was time to move on from Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan, but to get this type of quality in return for relatively nothing is quite a steal for the Penguins.
Everything we saw from McCann during his brief time with the Penguins should have fans very excited for next season. Whether he is taking over that 3C role permanently or playing alongside Crosby and Guentzel on the top line, Jared McCann’s future in Pittsburgh looks to be bright.
Grade Jared McCann’s 2018-19 season.
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