Vancouver Canucks: Time to Say Goodbye to Jared McCann

Oct 7, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks center Jared McCann (91) skates against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Vancouver Canucks won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 7, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Vancouver Canucks center Jared McCann (91) skates against the Calgary Flames during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Vancouver Canucks won 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

Jared McCann is one of the Vancouver Canucks’ most talented prospects — but maybe it is time to say goodbye.

Vancouver Canucks centre Jared McCann was one of the biggest surprises of the summer. McCann, Jake Virtanen and Ben Hutton all made the NHL club out of training camp and stuck with it for the entire season. Unfortunately, McCann’s future is not quite as bright as that of the other two.

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While Hutton profited from Vancouver’s below-average defence, Virtanen and McCann had a tough time establishing themselves in the lineup. Well, the injection of youth was meant to give the team some much-needed depth in form of highly motivated players who simply enjoy every second of ice time. Which is also the problem with McCann and Virtanen.

Neither rookie forward has seen a lot of ice time so far this season. General manager Jim Benning said that should change in the upcoming games, but McCann’s situation is anything but promising.

Virtanen gets to move up to the second line to play on Bo Horvat’s wing, but McCann remains stuck behind captain Henrik Sedin, Horvat, Brandon Sutter — and Markus Granlund. Instead of giving McCann a chance to play at least third-line minutes in Sutter’s absence, Benning chose Linden Vey over McCann and even acquired another centre to slot in ahead of McCann.

McCann, the Canucks’ 24th-overall selection of the 2014 NHL Draft, had a good start into the season but was unable to keep it up. He now has seven goals and 14 points in 51 games. Those 14 points in 51 games actually put McCann at No. 7 on the roster in goals per 60 minutes, at 1.15. McCann can produce, but he isn’t given a real chance.

Having the 19-year-old on the fourth line does not only hurt him, but also the club. If McCann plays fourth-line minutes with guys like Brandon Prust — who is luckily in the AHL now — and Derek Dorsett on his wings, he likely won’t develop as well as he could, and he also won’t gain too much confidence.

Fixing the Problem

So, what can be done to fix that issue? The answer is quite simple: trade him.

When the Sedins retire, Horvat, Sutter and Granlund will likely be the top-three centres on the depth chart. Brendan Gaunce is a candidate for the fourth-line slot. While both Sutter and Granlund have played on the wing before and show promise on the position, acquiring a natural winger for McCann might be the better choice.

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This has been talked about way too much — but how about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin? The 2013 third-overall pick requested a trade last year, got sent to the Lightning’s AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch, and refused to report.

In other words: tons of talent, a bit of risk and potential character issues. Worth McCann?

Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has reportedly inquired about Horvat and talks ended right there. But, Drouin’s value drops with every game the 20-year-old misses. Unless Drouin and the Lightning find a way to make things work, the club will eventually reach a point where they will have to sell one of their most promising prospects well below value.

Why not take McCann?

For the Canucks, the top nine in a post-Sedin lineup (three years down the road) without McCann but with Drouin could look like the following:


Drouin, Horvat and Brock Boeser is a line with elite potential. Sven Baertschi and Virtanen centred by Markus Granlund is a little bit of a wild card, but head coach Willie Desjardins tried it out for the first time in Tuesday’s loss against the New York Islanders. Sutter with Jannik Hansen and Emerson Etem is a very solid third line.

Obviously, the Canucks will also get a chance to draft more top-six talent in the next few drafts.

You see, instead of having an extremely talented centre stuck on the fourth line, the Canucks could get a first-line winger with elite talent.

The Timing

Would the Lightning say yes? It all depends on timing. At this point, McCann for Drouin straight up probably seems fair. If captain Steven Stamkos leaves Tampa this summer, McCann could get a huge chance to step up right away. Even if Stamkos stays, McCann’s chances to find success might be greater down in Florida.

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The longer the Lightning wait, the cheaper Drouin will get — unless they end up playing him again. There will be more teams interested, but McCann for Drouin is a very possible scenario.

*Stats via