We turn our attention back to the QMJHL for defenceman Jared McIsaac.
Playing on the high powered Halifax Mooseheads, McIsaac is a two-way defender who has some good puck skills that allow him to dance with the puck when he so chooses. He is praised for his defensive play but as we will see below, he was a high event player all year and was able to put up some reasonable point totals to balance out the scoring.
The young defender could hear his name called in the first round of the upcoming draft but we have him sitting as the 40th best prospect in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
- Age/Birthdate:17.47/ March 27, 2000
- Birthplace: Dartmouth, NS, CAN
- Frame:6-foot-1/ 194 lbs
- Draft Year Team:Halifax Mooseheads(QMJHL)
- Nova Scotia Peewee AAA Champion
- NSMBHL Rookie All-Star Team
- NSMBHL Second All-Star Team
- NSMMHL Rookie Defenceman Award
- NSMMHL Top Defenseman
- QGC-16 Bronze Medal
- YOG Silver Medal
- QMJHL All-Rookie Team
- QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the Year (Raymond Lagacé Trophy)
- Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal
- U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team
McIsaac was selected 2nd overall by the Mooseheads in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft and he immediately made an impact with 32 points in his rookie season, which led to him being named to the All-Rookie Team and QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
He followed that up by representing Canada at the U18 World Juniors to close out that season and then once again at the Ivan Hlinka in August. Being named to Canada for the U18’s at 17 years old is always a good sign.
The Dartmouth native dressed for Canada again at the U18’s in April and was named a Top 3 player for his team.
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There’s a bit to digest here.
First off, McIsaac stands out in terms of SEAL, INV%, XLS% and shots per game. All indicators that he is doing things well on the ice and suggest that he is a good bet for trending towards being an NHL defenceman.
His point totals were fairly reliant on powerplay production with a few shorthanded points thrown in there. Not concerning overall but they do make a large portion of his offence.
There is a lot red in the 5-on-5 event tracker and that is complemented by a lot of green. This tells us that a lot of things happened on the ice while McIsaac was out there. A lot of scouting reports suggest that he is a defensive defenceman but his point totals and those event tracking suggest he is more of a two-way defender that came out just ahead in terms of GF%.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
When playing with Otto Somppi and Filip Zadina, he helped them produce better GF% numbers than without. He saw positive results with Raphael Lavoie and Jake Ryczek. He did see a few negative results in GF% WOWY with his other most common linemates.
He wasn’t relied on offensively at 5v5 play and that shows with him landing in the middle of the defensive pairings in 5v5 eP60.
McIsaac saw his ice time climb in the later parts of the year and then during the playoffs. He was leaned on heavily during the postseason and saw some fairly decent production rates and goal differential (from the chart above) when playing a lot. That is a good sign and great end to the season for him. He followed that up with his good performance at the U18.
His promising rookie season produced a 41.6% success rate among his cohorts and that number fell to 25.8% for his draft season.
This percentage isn’t surprising given that he produced 0.72 points per game. Still a good percentage for an early second round pick in any draft.
Before the season began, Jared McIsaac was a highly thought of prospect for this draft class that saw his stock slip during the year and then rise back up into the conversation as a first-round pick. As we can see in the draft rankings below, he is now firmly entrenched as a first round player in almost all of the public services.
McIsaac is a hard-nosed defender who uses his skating abilities to be effective in his own zone. His penalty minute totals show that is willing to mix it up, get gritty, and make opponents lives difficult but I don’t view him as an old-school defender that is just rough and tough. He has a complete game that makes him effective in all situations with the penchant to be very good in his own zone. He is willing to take the body when the oppurunity arises.
He is quick to retrieve the puck in his own zone or contain opponents when he is beat to the puck. The left-handed defender is strong in 1 on 1 situations because of his active stick, physical play, and skating. He just doesn’t get beat very often in those situations.
Even though the event tracker suggests he is a high event player – there is a lot to like about his defensive zone play and should get better as he moves up the development ladder.
In the offensive zone, he is a smart puck distributor on the powerplay that can control the puck with ease. He uses his effective skating abilities to gain the zone and set up or attack himself. Given his defensive zone abilities, his offensive skills can feel surprising at times as he isn’t afraid to make a move or dangle an opponent on the attack.
There are some concerns that he was benefitting from the high powered offence of the Mooseheads but it’s more likely that he just fit in perfectly with them and helped them be better. His comparable players and defensive zone abilities suggest that his offensive ceiling might not be as high as some of the other defenders in the late first and early second round.
McIsaac has a great work ethic but is really smart on the ice and appears to be always in control. He doesn’t appear to be doing things that he doesn’t want to do.
The Mooseheads defender is a very good prospect and will have a good chance to make the NHL because of how strong he is in his own zone and his ability to push the puck in the right direction. There are some valid concerns about his offensive upside and his high event hockey but there aren’t major red flags.
It won’t be shocking to hear him called in the first round but given that possible limited offensive upside, it’s why he slots in the early part of the second round for us.
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Specimen of a shutdown defender, only this one can skate and chip in on the good side of the red line when the situation necessitates it. McIsaac has the tough job of knowing how and when to distribute the puck to Halifax’s arsenal of playmakers, and in the process sees his personal stats take a hit. But there isn’t a single defender in this draft better at smothering puck carriers than McIsaac, who has quick feet and maintains an incredibly tight gap.
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…keeps things simple, but can add a bit of flair where he sees an opportunity…pin-point breakout passes he delivers crisply and accurately…he really controls the puck well at high speeds and will skate it end-to-end when he gets room to rush the puck up ice…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…he’s a calming, safe, reliable two-way defender that has top-pairing NHL upside.