WWYDW: The Jared McCann Conundrum

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The Vancouver Canucks acquired Markus Granlund for the price of Hunter Shinkaruk because they didn’t have room for the latter on their left wing going forward. You can quibble with whether the Canucks lost the better player until the cows come home, but the real irony here is that they didn’t have room down the middle, either.

Henrik Sedin, Bo Horvat, Brandon Sutter, Linden Vey and Jared McCann already accounted for the middle of Vancouver’s lineup. Add Granlund to the mix and we’re talking about six centres for a grand total of four openings. Something’s gotta give. That something likely starts with the Canucks not qualifying Vey. But then what?

Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins hasn’t ruled out the possibility of sending his younger players to the Utica Comets next season to help with their development. Was McCann one of the players he had in mind?

For your sake, though, the question is whether he should be sent down next season or not. Are there alternatives? Let your voice be heard!

Last week I asked: 

Would you qualify Linden Vey this summer?

Darth Veyder:

I find your lack of faith in Vey disturbing.

Neil B:

I’d tell him we’re not qualifying him, but we are giving him a $950K “show me” two-season deal. That way he has some certainty, and we have a contract that can be buried if he doesn’t make the team.

Sean:

Even before this story became public, I would have given Vey another one year contract.

I personally think his versatility as a right shot that can play centre and wing is useful in a limited role.

And if he cannot stick on the NHL roster, he would be one of the better players in Utica.

Goon:

You can never have too much centre depth. Vey may not be great, but he is an NHL-caliber player with potential untapped upside, and that’s good to have in the system, as long as you’re not paying more than $1 million/year for him.

Fred-65:

Here’s the thing with the Vcr roster. There are no high end skill centres enroute. No one that has high hockey IQ and a play makers. Vey has that capability. I agree it’s not showing right now but his confidence is pretty low I suspect. He’s not big he’s not robust along the boards ( although it surprising how often he comes away from a scrum with the puck)he’ll never be a power forward which I suspect his distractors are looking for. If he’ll take a low base salary I’d sign him, he’s still relatively young and so fitVcr future vision

Dirty30:

The Linden Vey experiment needs to come to a close.

He was Willie’s ‘Welcome to Vancouver ‘ expensive pick and fave plaything in situations where someone else would have done better.

Yes he has some skill and some speed, but seldom wins faceoffs, puck battles, scores or sets up goals. He tends to make too many moves when he has the puck and falls down if somebody farts on the ice.

Should have sent him to Pittsburg and kept Bonino — the Pens would be playing golf right now.

End this. Use the money to sign some skill and size.

krutov:

i’d sign him but right now i would not hesitate to risk him on waivers.

vey so far in his career looks like one of those almost good enough players that fill up the rosters of bad teams but have no role on a good team.

he can’t be a shut down centre. all the try in the world can’t make him big enough to handle any of the top centres in this division.

he’s below average as a face off guy.

he’s not a physical player and never will be.

he’s not a scorer or serious offensive threat.

he’s not an energy player, shows little grit, doesn’t stir up his team and doesn’t impress on the pk.

that leaves generic fourth line centre / utility player. basically he’s a guy who covers for injuries and/or fills holes in weak teams.

he seems like a smart player so maybe he will bear down and develop a role.

the canucks are hard up enough to sign him for a year or two but they need to limit the number of players like this on their roster (granlund is another) or they will never progess.

  • Cageyvet

    Jared McCann has the potential to be a Patrice Bergeron-type player. Bergeron spent a year in the AHL after his rookie season. In the long term, it would be best for McCann to spend a year in Utica, where he should have been gone had it not been for CHL age rules, and let him take on a top 6 role. He can see about earning a middle 6 NHL position for 2017-2018. Same goes for Virtanen.

    • Riley Miner

      Not exactly an accurate comparison — Bergeron spent a year in the AHL during the NHL lockout, not because he wasn’t ready for the NHL.

      It’s not clear that McCann is ready yet; though it’s hard to tell at this point. I think it will come down (for both him and Virtanen) to what they accomplish in terms of training over the summer. If they come in ready for the rigors of a full season then I’d probably keep McCann and play him on left wing. More likely I would imagine that McCann and Gaunce go to Utica along with Higgins and Burrows if the latter isn’t bought out since the Aquilinis seem willing to pay to bury contracts in the minors or those two latter stay as extra bodies. I don’t think it will improve Gaunce and McCann’s development to do a second stint as fourth-line/fringe players.

      Lines would be Sedin-Sedin-Hansen, Horvat-Baertschi-Virtanen, Sutter-Vey-Rodin, Granlund-Etem-Dorsett with Edler-Tanev, Hamhuis (assuming he’s re-signed)-Sbisa, and Hutton-Tryamkin, I am hoping Pedan and not Biega as the 7th. I am really hoping Markstrom gets a 60-40 split of starts.

      The only way I see McCann staying up here is if he blows them away at camp and replaces Rodin, Vey, Virtanen or Hansen on one of those first three lines and given the waiver situation of all of those I can’t imagine it would make that much sense.

  • Fred-65

    McCann best be in Utica next season he showed zero or maybe even -1 from the December point forward. He’s just not ready. I suspect he will be some time in the future and a good player to bootbut between him and Vey…. Vey wins out

  • Fred-65

    If you consider the canucks centre depth being
    Hank, bo, sutter, granlund, then its hard to see where mccann fits on opening night. the plan for mccann should be to start him in utica and have him play top line minutes. Groom him for that top 6 centre role and allow him to make mistakes with the comets.

    Gaunce is the better centre option as a 13th forward, because he can slide in within the bottom 6 with more ease.

    Only way i see mccann playing centre is if he plays lights out in exhibition and takes the spot from the previously mentioned centres. The more likely is that he gets traded at draft, or is a callup during the regilar season due to injuries.

  • Cageyvet

    McCann and JV both need time in Utica. They need to learn and develop as pro’s playing big minutes and earn their call up to the Canucks.

    Neither were game breakers with the Canucks last season. They both need more seasoning and development, they won’t get that playing a limited role on the Canucks.

  • Fred-65

    McCann isn’t quite there physically yet. He should be spending most of his summer in the weight room. After that, there’s no shame in sending McCann down to Utica for a while to increase his ice time and allow him to develop.

    Jake’s a different story. He’s ready for the show now.

  • Fred-65

    It’s quite obvious from Willie’s comments that McCann will play on whichever team will help his development progress. If he’s playing well with Canucks, he’ll stay there…. if he goes into a slump, they’ll simply give him more playing time in Utica to get his confidence and hone his skills until they think he’s playing well enough or need him again. Back and forth.

  • JuiceBox

    I would try McCann on the wing at the NHL level next season.

    He already has better offensive skills than Granlund, Gaunce & Vey, in my opinion.

    If he had better support and the benefit of playing wing, I feel like he could have done what Fabbri did in St Louis.

    And there are no such thing as “too many centres”.

    There will be injuries and underperformance.

    All 30 NHL teams would stash competent centres on the wing if they had the ability to do so.

  • JuiceBox

    Why rush him? Let the Vey experiment run its course, see what Granlund can do with a full season, let it all shake out while McCann plays 19 minutes a night in Utica next season. Call him up from time to time, but keep him in Utica for the most part and give him some time and space to grow and mature without the constant media pressure in Vancouver.

  • JuiceBox

    It’s really a no-brainer. We saw last season, especially a the grind wore on, that while McCann may have been mentally ready for the big leagues at the start of the season, he was simply not ready physically, considering the style of game he plays.

    Send him down to Utica, get him on a good strength-building regime this summer & next, and revisit where we are in 2018.

  • JuiceBox

    Canucks screwed this one up they should have sent him back to junior to let him play more he will probably be in utica this yr. I am ok with this he will be with his pal Demko. Vey I’d keep see what he does expansion is coming need too keep depth and players to expoe

  • Riley Miner

    Granlund sucks we should deal him at the draft for what ever we can get. Hopefully a 2ND rounder to draft more defense or a forward who has dropped with top 6 potential.

    McCann and Virt should go to Utica and properly develop.

    Give gaunce a spot on the big club. Sign a few players to 1 year deals we can move at the deadline to replace those 3 roster spots. Then have which ever UTICA players impress finish the season in Vancouver.

  • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

    He should go to the AHL to regain his offensive prowess. Unless he completely dominates everything up to October.

    Vey is done, its over for him to be a top 6 guy. But McCann clearly has the potential and I think stuffing him on the 4th line of a tanking franchise would hurt his development. Let him play his way on the team.

    If McCann’s faceoffs numbers don’t improve, I would be in favour of a shift to the wing for him. His puckhandling and shooting skills are there for him to be a force. It will probably not happen but I think it could be good. I’ve dreamt of West Coast Express being recreated with the line of McCann – Bo – Virtanen

  • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

    He should go to the AHL to regain his offensive prowess. Unless he completely dominates everything up to October.

    Vey is done, its over for him to be a top 6 guy. But McCann clearly has the potential and I think stuffing him on the 4th line of a tanking franchise would hurt his development. Let him play his way on the team.

    If McCann’s faceoffs numbers don’t improve, I would be in favour of a shift to the wing for him. His puckhandling and shooting skills are there for him to be a force. It will probably not happen but I think it could be good. I’ve dreamt of West Coast Express being recreated with the line of McCann – Bo – Virtanen

  • Friendly Neighbourhood Canucks fan

    McCann has to be developed and groomed into a top 6 player by the time the Sedins expire.
    He won’t get that in Vancouver unless Horvat and Sutter become the 3 and 4C guys, which is crazy. He needs to go to Utica, play the top line, man the 1st unit powerplay, and develop physically.
    It’s fair to assume the Canucks draft either Tkachuk or Dubois. Boeser is coming. Etem is in contract talks. Baertschi will be resigned. Sutter and Horvat are here to stay. Rodin is on the books.
    Tkachuk-McCann-Boeser or McCann-Dubois-Boeser
    Baertschi-Horvat-Virtanen
    Etem-Sutter-Rodin
    There’s your top 9 post Sedin era
    The only place McCann has a hope for the future is on the 1st line unless Horvat surprises and earns his place there. Be patient, groom him, he can be an important piece if it’s done right.

    • Cageyvet

      I completely agree.

      Overall, I love that there is almost universal support of developing him and not a lot mentioned about trading him.

      What I like about McCann and Virtanen is they didn’t suck at the NHL level, they just looked like rookies, which is totally understandable. A benefit of their time here to date is they both displayed their promised shots, with an ability to beat NHL goaltending.

      I know, they didn’t fill the net, but smart players develop their ability to get clean opportunities. I think these two can bury those chances. Think Brad Marchand, I hate that SOB but I respect him – and a big part of his surprising offensive output is that shot.

      JB stated in his explanation of drafting McCann and Virtanen that he wanted guys who can shoot the puck. He followed that up with Boeser. I think he’s on the right path, and the popgun offense is going to gain some punch in the next 3 years.

  • Riley Miner

    no, you don’t trade mccann. he made the team as an 18 yo. he was over his head and certainly didn’t get any help from a sad sack canuck team. but… he had flashes of ‘hey now’. could be a good ‘un.

    down to the farm for him. let him chop wood and carry water for a couple of years. bring him up when he’s ripe and turn him loose. you gotta have some contingency plays, a few irons in the fire. there’s a whole lot of ‘what if’s as far as the future nhl efficacy of most of the canuck roster. the only guy who’s really proved himself, and nailed down his spot on the team in perpetuity, is chris tanev….everyone else is still a project.

  • JuiceBox

    The Canucks can’t score and are not a physical club. Watching the intensity of the playoffs, the Canucks would have been physically slaughtered if they made the show. Linden Vey, with 4 goals, 4 hits and a 43% win record in faceoffs over 41 games, brings nothing to the table that will help the Canucks so please do not bring him back. Vey’s had 2 years and has been underwhelming. Granlund is very similar to Vey – he isn’t noticeable most nights. I would give Gaunce a shot at the 4th line centre. He’s physical and his skating has really improved. McCaan has a high hockey IQ, a great shot and plays with an edge. Easily top 6 potential if handled correctly.

  • Riley Miner

    “Everythings been said but not everbody’s said it yet”

    Put McCann in Utica to develop, sign Vey, Jake stays with the Canucks or goes to Utica depending on how his camp goes.

    I thought Jake was really picking it up the 2nd half of the year, so there’s a decent chance he sticks with the Canucks next year. McCann still needs time in the oven, though.