The Vancouver Canucks like what they're seeing from Jared McCann
The Canucks think they've got a keeper, maybe a steal, in Jared McCann.
"He's quick, he jumps into holes and he is smart," said Canucks general manager Jim Benning on Monday, the first day of Vancouver's 2014 Prospects Development Camp.
"His release on his shot is second to none. He is a young guy that needs to get a bit stronger and build his body up, but he has the head and the skillset to evolve into a Top 6 forward for us at some point."
The Canucks drafted McCann 24th overall in the first round at June's NHL Entry Draft, as the two-way forward fell some 10 spots on several people's draft boards.
McCann – who plays his junior hockey for the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – was the 10th ranked North American skater on Central Scouting's final tally. (He was also ranked 16th on TSN's final draft list.)
Benning said he has had "two or three calls" from other NHL GMs, inquiring about prying McCann from the Canucks.
"We are going to protect our young guys, they are part of our future, and those conversations didn't last very long."
As for McCann, he was disappointed about where he fell to in the Draft. A much-publicized moment occurred in the moments after Vancouver selected him 24th overall, with the young forward saying he never expected to be picked by the Canucks, adding "it is what it is".
That final comment was taken the wrong way by fans – but understandably so, says McCann.
"That came off wrong," he said. "I went back and I saw that interview and the fans had every right to be mad. I definitely answered the question wrong; it was more to do with where I was picked. I apologize for that."
McCann told Canucks.com's Tyson Giurato that he had never been on TSN or a national TV station before, adding "I definitely need to work on my talking skills."
But the two-way center, who models his game around Boston Bruins' Selke winner Patrice Bergeron, sounds confident on his on-ice skills, and now 22 teams gave him something to play for.
"Those teams missed out," he told Giurato. "I am in Vancouver and couldn't be happier to be in the Canucks organization."