2018 NHL draft prospect profile #29: Jared McIsaac

BOISBRIAND, QC - OCTOBER 20: Jared McIsaac #14 of the Halifax Mooseheads skates the puck against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada during the warmup prior to the QMJHL game at Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 20, 2017 in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Halifax Mooseheads defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
BOISBRIAND, QC - OCTOBER 20: Jared McIsaac #14 of the Halifax Mooseheads skates the puck against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada during the warmup prior to the QMJHL game at Centre d'Excellence Sports Rousseau on October 20, 2017 in Boisbriand, Quebec, Canada. The Halifax Mooseheads defeated the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 4-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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With the third entry in the draft profile series, we have Jared McIsaac, a safe, but reliable defenceman.

Expectations are a funny thing. There is always one particular player with high expectations in September that ends up falling after a disappointing season. In isolation, this player did not play poorly, but with the context set by expectation, they leave you wanting more.

Oliver Kylington was hailed as a top 10 prospect during these way-too-early draft evaluations. He nearly fell out of the second round in the 2014 draft before the Calgary Flames picked him up. In anticipation of the 2016 draft, Jakob Chychrun seemed like a top three prospect, but slid to the Arizona Coyotes at 16th overall.

More from The Canuck Way

Despite a lack of consensus among the rankings, it appears many have Jared McIsaac in the bottom half of the third round. As Chychrun and Kylington before him, McIsaac was highly touted before the hockey season began.

Like I said, expectations are funny. We like to focus on the prospects that “came out of nowhere,” and place less spotlight on those that slide as the draft comes along. Of course that changes once the first round has concluded. As we will learn today, McIsaac will prove to be an safe option. Furthermore, with the few teams who own multiple first round selections, they could walk away happy on the first day of the draft.

The stats rundown

*Counting statistics and information collected from EliteProspects

Height: 185 cm/6’1″

Weight: 88 kg/194 lbs

Birthdate: Mar 27, 2000

Position: Defenceman

Handedness: Left

Team (league): Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Rankings:

#22 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM

#17 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

#21 by ISS HOCKEY

#19 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY

#13 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)

 #24 by Craig Button

#30 by Dobber Prospects (Cam Robinson)

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McIsaac’s point totals were tied for 10th among all QMJHL. Although he was overshadowed by his teammate, Filip Zadina, he was still productive.  Primary points are not as vital of a measuring tool when compared to forwards, but McIsaac did have 31 of them (11th most).

Bounces could have gone more his way, as his even strength shooting percentage of 2.52 ranks 96th in the league. One red flag for me is the reliance on the power play for points. McIsaac had 21 even strength points, meaning, 55% of his production was on the power play.

It’s not the end of the world, but ideally, you would prefer a player relies more on even strength production. 5v5 numbers project more reliably, and I am thankful there is a site that estimates the on ice effects of CHL players. That’s right. Just when you thought you could escape advanced stats, think again. That very helpful website is Prospect-Stats.

Relax, the site does not have corsi or fenwick. However, it looks at GF%, both on ice and relative. This is a stat better used for teams, but can provide context. The Mooseheads had the 7th best GF% (55.49) and McIsaac was on the ice for 51.88% of his team’s goals.

Therefore, he is not outscored by the opposition when on the ice (albeit by a narrow margin). However, his relative GF% is -4.54, which isn’t what you want to see. We need some more context, such as goals against rates, which are not available.

For what it’s worth, McIsaac plays an estimated 17 minutes a night at even strength, so he is getting opportunities in all situations. You can see his two-way play and physical presence in this highlight video (mind the audio).

Scouting reports

Aaron Vickers, Future Considerations

"McIsaac is a smooth-skating, two-way defenseman…he focuses on keeping his end clean first and foremost before adding to the offensive play…effortless skater with agility and balance…a long flawless stride…his cuts and transitions are fluid…incredible hockey sense…thinks the game at a very high level, and makes great decisions with the puck on his stick…possesses a real cannon of a shot from the point…plays opposing puck carriers aggressively and stands up attackers at the blue line…keeps a close gap pushing opponents to the outside and applies good pressure to force mistakes…plays with a mean streak in the corners and around his own crease…doesn’t shy away from working hard…confident and mature"

Ben Kerr, Last Word on Hockey

"McIsaac is an outstanding skater. He has very good mobility, with top-notch speed and acceleration in both directions. (…)Quick feet good agility, edgework, and pivots allow McIsaac to cover 360 degrees of ice. He transitions quickly from offence to defence, and vice versa. His strong skating ability makes him very difficult to beat on the rush. (…)McIsaac has a strong shot in addition to the ability to quarterback the power play. He has a good wrist shot with a quick release. His slap shot may not be an absolute bomb, but it is still above average. (…)However, the issue is consistency. McIsaac can look great one game and mediocre the next."

Cam Robinson, Dobber Prospects

"Big, strong and capable at both ends of the ice. A likely safe top four future but has seen his stock consistently drop throughout the year. Expectations were high and they haven’t been met."

What we think

Observing the Vancouver Canucks for the last four years provides some insight into how their management group thinks. When Jim Benning first got here, he put an emphasis on speed and a powerful shot. His defenceman targets put an importance on size and physical play. However, his physical defencemen are not living up to expectations, as they don’t fit in the modern NHL.

Jared McIsaac brings the best of both worlds for a manager like Benning. Trust me, there are many managers in this league that think in a similar way. McIsaac can be a bit of throwback defenceman as he is not afraid to lay down the body.

While his shot is not the heaviest, it can do work on the power play. Teams are always looking for that quarterback for their lineup. McIsaac is a bit of hybrid player since he possesses the necessary skills of a modern NHL defenceman.

His skating is incredible and agility something to behold. Defensive systems and bigger players can make the ice seem small, so using those feet will help him create separation and space. Outlet passes and transitioning up ice is vital in today’s game and McIsaac should adjust well.

Next: 2018 NHL draft prospect profile #30: Nils Lundkvist

Lastly, I would describe him as a very safe player that you can trust. He doesn’t scream “game-breaking player” to me, but I firmly believe he has the potential of a top four defenceman. Honestly, getting that with a late first round pick is a decent win.