Despite the gobs of potential he had when he was drafted, Ian McCoshen should primarily be used as a call-up this season.
Ian McCoshen, a second-round suggestion in 2013, has yet to put it together at the NHL level for the Florida Panthers. McCoshen has played 60 games over three separate stints, with just seven points (4 goals, 3 assists) during that time.
There was a lot that influenced the Panthers to take a guy like McCoshen. As the Alternate Captain of the NCAA’s Boston College Eagles, McCoshen scored 21 points in 40 games, a +14 rating, and led BC to a share of the Hockey East regular-season title. The Eagles advanced to the Frozen Four that year but lost in the semifinals.
McCoshen was selected to be similar to fellow Boston College Eagle Mike Matheson, as a two-way defenseman who could create opportunities from the blue line but also play agile, with a lean 217-pound build.
Yet, he’s failed to really come together as an NHL defenseman. His defense is sub-par, with the Panthers giving up more than scoring goals with him on the ice, never establishing a consistent slap shot or a Keith Yandle-like passing mentality.
Even at the AHL level, McCoshen struggled to create last season, with just nine assists in thirty-eight games for Springfield. He also recorded his worst tally of penalty minutes throughout his whole career since his 2015-16 season at Boston College, with 49 penalty minutes for the Thunderbirds last time out.
This next season is make or break for McCoshen’s career. He’s now 24 years old, and with a new coach that could change his development, McCoshen has to hope to improve the most he can to get a shot at playing for the Panthers.
New Head Coach Joel Quenneville has worked with a whole host of young defensemen before. His Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks squad from 2010 had a whole host of young defensemen who would go on to have impressive NHL careers. Players like Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Seabrook, and Niklas Hjalmarsson all went on to be sturdy NHL defensemen, so there is hope for McCoshen.
The problem is that he just might not be the guy, at least not yet, for Quenneville to start 2019. Quenneville has come in to win, not to try and help the team develop. To do so, he’s going to pick the best six defensemen on the roster to play most nights. Right now, those d-men are looking like Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle, Mike Matheson, Anton Stralman, Mackenzie Weegar, and Mark Pysyk.
In terms of a healthy scratch, there’s a lot to compete for in training camp, but Josh Brown edged out McCoshen for most of last season, and it may repeat that same way in 2019-20.
For McCoshen, however, this might not be the worst-case scenario. If McCoshen can start the season out in the AHL, and become one of the better defensemen in the minors, there’s a chance he can earn his way into the lineup eventually. Quenneville could be the best thing to happen to McCoshen if he can earn his stripes.
For now, McCoshen isn’t good enough to start next season with the Panthers, and should be considered as the 8th best defenseman on the roster. With time, however, he could get into the NHL level this next season.