We are back with the second installment of my series where I use astrology as a way to explore what Seattle’s players have done so far and what they are capable of going forward. Before we dive into my next chart analysis, I want to mention a few quick things.
First, going off of the comments from my last piece, it seems that some people were expecting this to be more of a joke and that I wouldn’t be treating the astrology subject matter so seriously. While ultimately this is all in good fun (I’ll admit, astrology doesn’t explain everything about everyone), I am using the planets in a serious manner as a way to try to dive into how these players tick. Why are they so good at what they do? Why are their off-ice personas the way they are? It’s my chosen framework for these player pieces because it’s something to not just unite them all, it’s also just different! We’re a brand new team, so why not try something new and different in how we talk about players?
Secondly, if you haven’t read my last astrology article and you need a quick primer on terms (or even if you have but need a fresh reminder), I have an Astrology 101 section near the top of it.
Chart: Jared McCann
We’re focusing our second installment of this series on yet another ex-Penguin, but I have my reasons for it. McCann has been off to a hot start so far with the Kraken (even if he is now sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols), but additionally, when I was breaking down each player sign-by-sign, his chart was initially a standout to me due to its split between Gemini and Taurus signs throughout his personal planets.
I’m not going to dive deeply into each sign in my analysis, but I provide the whole list of placements to give a more thorough picture of what I’m working with here.
The first planet I want to hone in on for his chart is his Sun. It’s in Gemini, which combines the air element (cerebral, flighty) with the mutable modality (freeing, adaptable). No two Gemini Suns are truly the same, because the Gemini is all about change and reinvention. A lot of this is because its home is in ideas. Gemini placements consume information rapidly and then have to share that information to anyone who will hear (doubly so if a person also has Gemini as their Mercury placement, since it’s the realm of communication).
Jared McCann absolutely appears to possess this exact type of energy, and I’ll start off looking at a personality example. Ryan S. Clark of the Athletic wrote this introduction to set up his interview with McCann, and my first thought upon reading it was “Oh, yeah, that’s a Gemini.”
All is calm until the black double doors swing open to the Kraken’s dressing room at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J....
McCann is ready to talk. About anything. This trip. What he thinks of his teammates. Why he named his dog Cheddar.
With an entirely new group of players coming together, McCann used every night of the road trip to get to know his teammates. “We’ve tried to change it up in each city,” McCann explained. “… But all you have to do is send a text to anybody asking if they have any dinner plans.”
The imagery of the doors bursting open to someone who just needs to talk about everything on his mind is the perfect encapsulation of pure Gemini energy. Additionally, his desire to use every bit of free time to socialize and learn about his teammates fits the type of “social butterfly” expectation of a Gemini. While Gemini placements can belong to both introverts and extroverts, the sign imbues people with good communication skills and an ability to adapt to others that lends itself to being a more social placement.
It’s also important to note how McCann worked at getting to know everyone. It’s not just that he spent every night on this task, he also takes great pride in it. Later on in that same article, he says, “You’re getting a chance to know somebody on your own....You don’t take what other people say. It’s never accurate. I’m the type of person that I have to learn somebody for myself. I have to get to know them. I have to talk to them.” He’s all about getting information directly from the source. This might be influenced as well by having his Mercury sign (communication) in Taurus - which is a much more steady and deep-digging sign, as I’ll further explain a bit later. He wants to know everyone, but he needs to be sure he does it on his terms and not through hearsay.
But what does him being a Gemini say about his hockey skills?
Gemini is arguably the most adaptable sign of them all. Having placements in this sign that deals with quickly processing and disseminating information means that when being thrown into a new situation, a Gemini can learn to thrive in that space fast.
For McCann, this has come in handy throughout his career as he’s been shuffled up and down lineups as well as throughout multiple teams. He is only 25 years old, and he’s already played in Vancouver, Florida, and Pittsburgh before winding up in Seattle. Plus, the way he got to Seattle just feels like a situation that would only happen to a Gemini. He was traded by the Penguins to the Maple Leafs, because Pittsburgh didn’t want to lose him for nothing in the expansion draft. McCann then became the player the Kraken chose from Toronto a couple days later. He barely had the chance to process the trade before a new team snatched him up again.
(He was also expected after his trade from Florida to Pittsburgh to immediately play for the Penguins that night with no practice whatsoever, and he arrived in the city too late to even participate in warmups. He was thrown out there into that first game completely cold. Teams really like testing McCann’s Gemini adaptability it seems.)
Throughout lineups, he’s been expected to play different roles. With the Kraken, Hakstol has already seen McCann’s ability to play both wing and center and has used him in both positions as seen fit. Yet, none of this has stopped his ability to produce. On a new team while shifting anywhere from first-line center to second-line winger, he is tied for second on the team with 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists). He’s achieved these points both on the power play and at 5v5, further showing his ability to play well in multiple situations.
McCann also seems to get better and better with each new team he’s on. He averaged .26 points per game with his one season in Vancouver, and while he started off with only 7 points in 29 games in Florida (he spent much of that season in the AHL), McCann had .41 points per game in his second full season with the Panthers. His 2018-2019 season was split between two teams, and he actually improved his production post trade: .39 points per game with Florida, .53 with Pittsburgh. He kept that .53 points per game rate in 2019-2020 and climbed to a .74 rate in 2020-2021. As time goes on, he keeps steadily improving his ability to be an offensive force.
Part of that growth last season was because McCann was unfazed in constant shakeups. The Penguins are a tad cursed in how many injuries they wrack up year in and year out (and now COVID-19 cases it seems) so the ability to step up and adapt is crucial to not just team success but individual success. McCann found himself slotting into roles he hadn’t been in before, such as the top power play unit while Evgeni Malkin was injured.
People might argue “Oh, he was on a power play with Sidney Crosby, of course the point totals increased,” but actually, the Penguins’ power play was struggling until McCann breathed new life into it. Pittsburgh’s stars were prone to over-passing while on the man advantage, which limited the amount of chances they could create. McCann didn’t have that issue and proved to be good at sniping the puck. In fact, our friends over at Pensburgh compiled that overall, McCann was first on the team in Corsi For Percentage with 54.7%. This means that when looking at all shot attempts (missed shots, blocked shots, and shots on goal), McCann was outshooting the competition the most of any Penguin. McCann didn’t overthink when he was on the ice and was able to survey the scene and figure out the best times to shoot. This is right up there in terms of a Gemini’s ability to quickly process information and use it effectively. The less hesitation to shoot, the more it shows McCann is trusting his instincts that he’s finding the right time to do so. Going by how he lead Pittsburgh in power play goals last season, he’s only getting better at finding those key moments.
To add to why McCann seems to improve on each new team, his Mars is in Taurus. His energy and his competitive drive is all focused in on an earth sign (grounded, steady) with a fixed modality (see-it-through, dedicated). To contrast, if Capricorn (as we discussed with Brandon Tanev) is the kind that will set its sights on success and do anything to achieve it, Taurus is even more stubborn on seeing wants and desires come to fruition. The law of inertia (an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion) is Taurus’s mindset in a nutshell about pretty much anything. For McCann, this shows in his dedication to being the best hockey player he can be. This goal is not going to be thrown off by constant shuffling. Slow and steady wins the race, and he’ll keep chipping away and getting better because his Mars is in a sign that will not deviate from its course.
Yet, a Taurus Mars does crave stability. Part of the modality of this sign is to stick with something for a long time and to improve incrementally. While McCann has been ready for the challenge of a new team, in an interview with Marisa Ingemi of the Seattle Times, he admitted that “Getting traded really does humble you....I feel like I still had that confidence in myself, and I can put the puck in the back of the net and I just need the chance, and this is probably one of the first times I’ve gotten a solid opportunity to show up and do it.” He’s adaptable, but McCann also needs time to slow down and be allowed to grow, hence how his production rate increases the longer he’s with a team. Being able to stay rooted in one place hasn’t happened often, though, to the point of McCann saying in the same interview, “Here I feel comfortable, and it’s something I have to get used to.” He’s been shuffled around so much that settling down feels a little foreign, but it’s something he still needs.
A Gemini Sun with a Taurus Mars is an interesting play of tug of war, split between constant change and a need to be rooted and steady. So far, McCann’s career has called more upon his Gemini placements, but the Taurus ones could be allowed to show here in Seattle. It’s hopefully going to be a long-term home for him, and if this is truly the case, my astrological prediction for him is that while he will still provide the Kraken value as a player that can be flexible wherever he’s needed in the lineup, the more that he plays here in Seattle, the more he’ll blossom.