Jared McCann has shot out the gate with the Seattle Kraken, scoring five goals in his first 11 games. While he is having a strong start to the season, the Kraken seem hesitant to give him ice time when the team is at even strength. He has developed into more than just a power play specialist, which is why the lack of ice time is confusing early on in the season.
Jared McCann’s Ice Time
McCann has averaged 14:39 of ice time so far this season. This is a massive drop off from last season as, in 2021-22, he averaged 16:08. While his reduced ice time is not unexpected, considering he plays third-line minutes and there is more depth at forward this season, dropping just under a minute and a half per game is strange.
McCann’s even-strength time on ice is even more bizarre, as he is currently averaging only 11:31. This is the lowest he has averaged in a season since 2016-17. The only players who have played less at even strength are Shane Wright, Morgan Geekie, Daniel Sprong, Ryan Donato, and Karson Khulman. The difference between McCann and these five is that he is an everyday player who is arguably one of the Kraken’s top offensive weapons, while the rest have been rotating in and out of the lineup. As mentioned, he does play on the third line, but even so, his ice time shouldn’t be this low.
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Where McCann is being used properly is the power play. He averages 2:55 per game, which has him tied for third on the team. The former 2014 first-round pick has been the Kraken’s best player on the power play over the past two seasons as he leads the team in points with 21 and goals with ten so his power play ice time is not surprising. The only issue is that it should not account for around 20 percent of his total average ice time per game.
McCann’s Play at Even Strength
Despite limited ice time at five on five, McCann has been one of the Kraken’s most effective players. He is tied for third in goals with three and ninth in points with four. His 80 percent individual points percentage, which tracks what percentage of goals are scored while a player is on the ice they collect a point on, shows that he is very engaged in the play and a major reason his team is scoring goals. From an offensive perspective, he is producing and creating chances despite the limited ice time.
Usually, when a player gets limited ice time, it has to do with their defensive play, but that is also not the case for McCann. His 55.02% Corsi is third on the team at even strength, and the team has created more high-danger scoring chances than they have conceded. As for his individual play, he has already created five takeaways which is more than Adam Larsson, Justin Schultz, and Will Borgen combined. He has shown overall defensive improvements, not just this season but last as well, which is encouraging for a player mostly thought of as an offensive weapon.
McCann Deserves More Ice Time
While McCann does play a third-line role on the Kraken, his production shows that he deserves more ice time. He has too much value to be playing less than 12 minutes a night at even strength. Yes, the season is less than 15 games in, but the trends teams set early are generally a good indicator of what the rest of the season will look like. If Seattle wants to stay near the top of the Pacific Division all season, they need to get their leading scorer from 2021-22 on the ice more at even strength.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.