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
More from Canucks News
- Canucks are in “wash, rinse, repeat” mode after Monday’s 5-1 loss
- Canucks send Jack Rathbone and Vasily Podkolzin down to Abbotsford
- Canucks acquire Ethan Bear, Lane Pederson from Carolina
- Brock Boeser, Curtis Lazar placed on injury reserve
- Canucks officially unveil Reverse Retro jersey in latest aesthetic change
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.