Following his sophomore year in the NHL last season, Jared McCann hit it off with the Florida Panthers in 2017-18, growing further in his young career.
It’s been two summers since Jared McCann was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks, sending Erik Gudbranson the other way. Since then, it’s safe to say that the Panthers have won the trade, getting the better player in the deal. Now that most fans are away from discussing the trade, we can focus on the growth of Jared McCann.
Since arriving to Sunrise, Florida, Jared’s game has only grown. In his first season with the Cats, McCann featured in a small amount of games, taking part in just 29 regular season contests. In those 29 games, McCann tallied a lonely goal and 6 assists, combining for 7 points all together.
While it was disappointing to see Jared have an awfully quiet and unproductive season in the big leagues, his time in the minors (AHL) was a little relieving, posting 11G, 14A, and 25 points in 42 AHL affairs. Because of Springfield, Jared’s second official season in the NHL didn’t go to waste, falling back on the AHL to make the most of his situation.
Fast forward a season later, and the situation was different, entirely. This time, McCann featured in 68 NHL games, recording 9G, 19A, and 28 points. His nineteen assists and twenty-eight points happened to be a career-high for the 22-year-old, Canadian native.
Throughout the majority of the 2017-18 campaign, McCann played a major role on the Panthers’ third line, officially becoming Florida’s third centerman. His play started to mold into an everyday NHL player, as night in and night out, McCann looked more like an NHL starter.
One thing that McCann was always known for was his shot, and more notably, his release. Jared found more accuracy and rhythm with his shot, beating goaltenders at a higher rate compared to the season before. Below is a clip of McCann using his lethal wrist-shot to beat
in overtime, giving the Panthers a 3-2 victory over the
The goal above happens to be my favorite Jared McCann goal in a Panthers uniform, seeing he beats Nikita Zaitsev to the puck with quick anticipation, blazes past Nazem Kadri in the middle of the ice, and comes down to wire a shot past McElhinney.
Does it really get much better though? I think not, considering the tight playoff race the Panthers were in, and the fact that McCann got the Cats the additional point against a tough opponent like the Maple Leafs.
If you think a shot is all Jared has, well then you’re gladly mistaken, as that’s not all he has! Ever seen McCann’s speed? Well the answer to that should be yes, especially if you watched his overtime goal against Toronto above. But in case you didn’t, here’s a clip of Jared McCann bolting down on a breakaway, shortly after the puck bounced over
The goal may seem like a ‘gift,’ considering the puck bounced over Gaborik’s stick. That’s certainly a fair point to make, but what’s also fair to point out is the timing that McCann had on that play, to quickly pick up the loose puck and race down the ice. We hardly saw any of this during his first season with Florida, but boy does a season ever make a difference for a player, especially for one who puts in the work (like McCann did).
Moving forward into next season, Jared will continue to center the third line. With hopes that there are a couple of additions up front, it could potentially lead to more talent trickling down, which would benefit McCann’s third line.
In closing, if Jared continues to stay healthy and can play a full season in the NHL next year, there’s no reason to believe that he can’t bump that point total to 40 points, and offer the Panthers more scoring. But above all, the Cats are in safe hands with McCann as their third line center.