Pittsburgh Penguins: Is Jared McCann the Next Big Thing?

When Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Jim Rutherford acquired centerman/winger Jared McCann from the Florida Panthers during the trade deadline last year, not a lot of people knew who McCann was. Jared McCann made a solid first impression right away when Mike Sullivan, the head coach, decided to put him on the same line as Sidney Crosby.

McCann has a ton of speed and skill. He can play on the wing and he can also play up the middle. Jared McCann’s versatility is one of the most underrated things on this team. McCann is probably the fourth-best forward on this team behind Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel.

Jared McCann is better than players like Bryan Rust, Patric Hornqvist, and Teddy Blueger. McCann is going to have to play in a big role if Pittsburgh wants to win another Stanley Cup for the first time since going back-to-back in 2016 and 2017.

He is only 24 years old. Jared McCann played in 66 games this past season. He scored 14 goals and recorded 21 assists. His plus/minus was 6.

McCann is the heart and soul of this team. He is also going to probably need a new contract soon.

He is going to be a restricted free agent this summer or whenever the season ends due to the coronavirus. I am sure he may get somewhere between $3 million and $6 million, but the question is, how much cap space are they going to have?

They also have to decide which goalie to keep. Tristan Jarry and Matt Murray will also both be restricted free agents. Murray was almost traded at the trade deadline to the Colorado Avalanche and he may be traded this offseason anyway.

I am sure General Manager Jim Rutherford will want to make a decision on that because the expansion draft for the Seattle franchise will be next summer. I don’t think Rutherford wants to make another goalie debate as he did with Marc-Andre Fleury and Murray in the summer of 2017 with the Vegas Golden Knights.

As for Jared McCann, I am sure he is going to be one of the forwards on this team that is going to get protected for the expansion draft next summer. There is no way management would give him up. That would be shocking. I am also surprised that the Florida Panthers gave up on him so quickly.

He could maybe one of the key pieces moving forward if Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin abruptly retired, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon though. Jared McCann is one of the most important players on the Pittsburgh Penguins whether we see it or not.

Jared McCann can also play on the first power-play unit or the second power-play unit. He was originally selected 24th overall in the first round of the NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks back in 2014.

What do you think of Jared McCann’s role on this team? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Glenn Kaplan on Twitter @glennkaplan13.

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