Jack McBain was an almost lock for the first round of this draft class to start the year but has seen his stock slip slightly as the season went on. This isn’t because he didn’t play well, as he did, but is more of a reflection of other players exceeding expectations.
Add the fact that he remained in the OJHL, and the obvious concerns that he was just the best player in a lower league, and Jack McBain lands in the 41st spot of our draft rankings.
There are some of those QoC concerns but McBain presents a terrific two-way skill set that should allow him to do well in the NCAA next season.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.69/ January 6, 2000
- Birthplace: Toronto, ON, CAN
- Frame:6-foot-3/ 196 lbs
- Position: Centre
- Handedness: Left
- Draft Year Team: Toronto Jr. Canadiens(OJHL)
- OJHL First Team All-Prospect
- U17 WHC Silver Medal
- Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
- OJHL First Team All-Prospect
- OJHL Top Prospect Award
McBain was taken by the Barrie Colts in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection with the 20th overall pick and was also drafted by the Lincoln Stars in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft. He decided to remain in the OJHL and then later committed to Boston College in March 2017 for the 2018-19 season and onwards.
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With the development of hockey avenues that include Canadian players wanting to go the NCAA route growing, we are seeing more high-end players coming through the junior A ranks than we have before. It means that a player like McBain, who in the past likely would’ve gone to the OHL, are coming through the OJHL. That creates an uncertainty to their overall play as the QoC is lower and thus makes said players look better. It’s a fair concern but can be overstated.
In the case of McBain, he is a well rounded two-way player that has good vision and anticipation to create offence. He has a good top speed, but could work on his acceleration, that allows him to use his 6’3″ and 195 lbs frame dictate what he wants to do with the puck. He has a long reach that would normally suggest that he has trouble controlling the puck but he is surprisingly soft with the biscuit. He can move the puck quite well but has a good shot that he can get off well while in stride.
McBain shows flashes of being a power forward type player but those soft hands and awareness likely mean he won’t be boxed into that specific type of play.
He’s good in the defensive zone – using that size, reach and hockey IQ to outsmart and then separate his opponent from the puck.
I’ve liked his work ethic and willingness to chase the puck and force his opponents to make plays. As mentioned above, his acceleration isn’t great but that may be due to technique and with some skating coaching sessions it could be improved.
There is a reason to think that the OJHL QoC concerns are likely overstated as McBain played very well at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in which he posted three points in the Gold Medal game. He followed that up with another three points at the U18 World Juniors to close out the year. Next year in the NCAA will be a good test for him, but he is likely up to the challenge after dominating this season in the OJHL.
His skill-set lends itself to seeing him be a two-way centre that creates offence in multiple ways with the added benefit of being good in his own zone. Ideally, he will be more physical in his play as he does well when he does do so.
As mentioned in other profiles, a longer development curve is better for some players and McBain falls into that category. His game is well rounded but it has a few areas that he can improve. Just minor little tweaks to get everything to the next level and when he does, it’s easy to see him as a middle six centre in the NHL.
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McBain is a sizeable and strong two-way pivot…he stands out for his vision on the ice, skill with the puck and strong work ethic, an excellent combination of attributes…skating stride is slightly upright and rigid, but he utilizes long strides to generate above average straight-line speed…ability with the puck is far beyond his years…patient enough to wait for a play to develop before distributing the puck but is comfortable finding the soft spots in defensive coverage…uses his quick release to create a scoring chance as well…his shot is very good…has the ability to receive a pass in stride and fire a shot with good power and accuracy quickly…takes care of his responsibilities in the defensive zone and positions himself well to make a play on loose pucks…he could stand to be more physical, but his ability to close his opponents off along the boards and use his long reach to block passing lanes is still an asset…a very committed and tireless worker, he makes a consistent effort to be an impact player on the ice…he could become a tremendous two-way player at the NHL level.