Jared McCann: Bergeron 2.0?

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Ok, Bergeron 2.0 is a pretty unfair question to ask, but you can blame Jared McCann for that. His gifted offensive talents combined with the pride he takes in shutting the opposition down could make him a name that comes up in Selke talk in the future.

I was fortunate enough to talk to the projected mid-to-late first-rounder about his game, his development, and learning both ends of the ice. Warning: May also contain totally sweet highlight reel video.

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We’re talking on the eve of you being selected in the 2014
NHL Entry Draft, but I saw a video from a few years ago of a younger Jared
McCann all excited at the idea of being selected in the OHL Draft. I want to
see if you still feel the same way about what you said. You said that your two
favourite players at the time were Tyler Seguin and David Backes. Is that still
the case?

No, well, yeah, I guess so. 
They’re two of my favourite players but they’re not two of the players
who I model my game after anymore.

Who are the guys that you model your game after now?

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Patrice Bergeron or Jonathan Toews.

So one day you’re going to win the Selke is what you’re

Ha. Hopefully! It would be nice.

That is something that you talked about back then and a
little more recently – your two-way game. How do you think that has developed?

I think it’s going really well and I still obviously have a
long way to go but last year Mr. Keefe (Greyhound head coach and former NHL
player Sheldon Keefe) put me in a position where I could develop as a two-way
centreman. I’m not one of those top five guys who are just worried about
scoring goals and stuff anymore because you won’t be able to do that at the
next level. I feel like I’ve been improving and going  in the right direction.

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How has it helped you to be on the Soo Greyhounds in terms
of development? Watching some of your highlights, guys like Fritsch, guys like
Tolchinsky – you were able to create magic out there.

Yeah I’ve always had good chemistry. My first year I played
with Fritsch for a bit and Tolchinsky, but just playing in the Soo was amazing.
It’s been awesome and it really helped me with my development. If you look at
the players they’ve drafted like Jeff Carter, Jake Muzzin, and those guys, I
felt like it was the best place for me to be. 

What was your favourite team growing up?

I was an LA fan when I was younger.

See my buddy says that but I don’t believe
him. I think he just says that because they’re good. I don’t know, you might
just be doing that, too.

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No, no. I have photos to prove it. 

Who was your favourite player growing up before the Seguin
and Backes days?

Probably Jonathan Toews.

What about your favourite King?

Now or back then?

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Right now it’s Jeff Carter and then back then… I don’t know.
Good question. Wayne Gretzky, probably.

Wayne Gretzky is not a bad player.

Haha well he’s a Soo Greyhound, so. 

One thing that comes with being a first round pick is
hopefully you get signed to an NHL contract, you would hope. I don’t know if
you know this but NHL players make a lot more money than most people. What do
you see yourself buying with your first pro hockey paycheck?

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The first thing I’ll do is take my parents out to dinner or
something like that. 

…That’s it? One dinner?

Haha a couple
dinners, probably.

What are some of the things going through your head right now? You’re hours away from being drafted into the National Hockey League. 

I guess I’m nervous. I didn’t really sleep that well but it is what it is and hopefully when I hear my name called it’s going to be a great experience with my family. It’ll be a dream come true. 

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One very common criticism for young guys coming up is their
defensive game is too weak and they’re not good enough without the puck. It
sounds like you pride yourself on being pretty good with the puck.  What has helped you become a better two-way

Just the fact of realizing that at the next level it’s not
all about scoring points and stuff like that because some of those guys don’t
even win Cups, right? It’s about being able to play both ends of the ice and
defence is just as important as offence. I want to be that important guy that
the coaches go to be a difference.

Was there a moment where you remember shutting a guy down as
if you had scored a goal?

Yep. All the guys that are rated ahead of me who
are so gifted offensively who can really score goals. I take pride in playing
against them and really making it hard on them.

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