Vancouver Canucks: Perfecting the Youth Movement in 2016

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Vancouver Canucks
Jan 23, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Jared McCann (91) prepares to take the opening face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 4: Perfecting the Development of Jared McCann

To round out our list, here is Jared McCann, a part of the Vancouver Canucks’ share of the Ryan Kesler trade. He was not expected to make the NHL this year, but he impressed early and earned himself a spot alongside Virtanen.

McCann’s Keyword: Versatility

Read on, and you will find out why he needs to be versatile if he wants to stay in the Canucks lineup.

Depth Chart: Fourth-line Centre, if anything

This is obviously not his full potential. The first thing right off the bat — he is in the role part of the lineup and he is not benefitting at all. 12 points in 44 games is okay (Horvat had 25 points in his 68-game rookie campaign), but a fourth-line pivot role is not okay.

What Vancouver Needs to Do

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Be creative with the lineup. When McCann looks up and sees what he must do to get 15+ minutes of ice time each game, he sees a 20-year-old Horvat, a 26-year-old Sutter, and a 35-year-old Henrik Sedin. None of them are going anywhere anytime soon.

So, even if McCann wins a fourth-line role from Adam Cracknell or Linden Vey, that’s all he can be — a fourth-line centre with the untapped potential to be a second-line centre.

Why not try him on the left of Sutter? That frees McCann up from the defensive responsibilities of being a centre, allows him to learn to take draws from Sutter, gets him top-six minutes, and mutually benefits Sutter and the 26-year-old’s production.

That, though, will have to come at the expense of a left winger like Alex Burrows, unless if you don’t mind having his $4.5 million contract on your fourth line.

What McCann Needs to Do

Be open to change, be open to learning. Hope McCann knows that he has a bright future ahead of him. It sucks to have three bonafide top-six centremen ahead of you on the depth chart, doesn’t it?

Whatever Vancouver does, it is going to be to McCann’s benefit. He is going to have to be open to the queer things that his coach Desjardins might pull on him and learn to adapt to the needs of the lineup.

Next: The Bottomline.