2017-18 Team: Halifax Mooseheads (#14)
Date of Birth: March 27, 2000
Place of Birth: Truro, NS, Canada
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 194 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Final: 13th (NA)
- Future Considerations: 17th (Winter)
- hockeyprospect.com: 22nd
- ISS Hockey: 21st
- McKeen’s Hockey: 19th
For Jared McIsaac, the hype was real. It started as soon as the Halifax Mooseheads drafted him second overall in the QMJHL Draft. Much was expected from the highly touted defender.
Many thought of McIsaac as someone who could do it all. He could play top-pair minutes while playing both ends of the ice at an elite level. The same many expected him to eventually become a top-five pick in the NHL Draft given all the buzz. So why is he not thought of in the same way as other defenders like Noah Dobson, Quinn Hughes and Evan Bouchard?
The simple answer is that he has underwhelmed in comparison to what was expected. In the highest scoring major junior league in Canada, McIsaac posted a line of 9-38-47 in 65 games and added four assists in nine playoff games. Considering the talent on this Halifax team, it’s fair to ask questions about him. Were his numbers in part due to having players like Filip Zadina, Benoit Olivier-Groulx and others dominating the opposition?
The thing you cannot question about McIsaac is how good a defender he is. He is widely considered one of the best shutdown defenders available. He has no issues meeting you at the line and shutting a rush down. He also will race into a corner and play a strong physical game. When his team has the puck, he quarterbacked the power play and demonstrated how good a playmaker he can be with his passing. He had many options to choose from. He more often than not made the correct decision on who to pass to.
On tape, McIsaac shows bursts of what kind of player he could become. He’s not afraid to drive the net when given the chance. He plays one way. That’s super aggressive no matter what goes on around him. It sometimes gets him in trouble as demonstrated by his 86 PIM’s. The thing teams must figure out is if he has the upside of a top-five player who will continue to add offense or if we’ve seen his best now. He’s an interesting case of early hype and not meeting lofty expectations.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Jared McIsaac – NHL Draft Projection
The general consensus on McIsaac is that he is a solid, first-round pick. At one time he was thought of as a potential top-five pick but has fallen mostly due to underwhelming results for where he was picked in junior. Still, a team picking 15-25 who values his shutdown ability would love the opportunity to draft him. He fits in just inside my top-20 at number 19 overall.
“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.” –Future Considerations
“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.” –Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
- Excellent shutdown defender
- Underrated puck distributor
- Good skater
- Aggressive at both ends of the ice
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Goal scoring ability
- Takes a lot of penalties
McIsaac’s upside is that of a top pair shutdown defender who can eat 20-25 minutes a night who can add offense. His ongoing improvement at the offensive end will determine how high his upside is. This is the kind of player opponents will grow to hate especially in a tight playoff series.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 7/10, Defence – 9/10
McIsaac was named the QMJHL defensive rookie of the year in 2016-17. He won a gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in 2017-18.
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.