The news today that Jared McCann signed a five year, $25 million extension is a bright spot on what has been a tough recent stretch of the regular season. While the Kraken posted a loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs, GM Ron Francis got a win for the franchise when he locked up McCann for the remainder of his prime productive years.
The team leader in goals, McCann has shown this season what many believed about him to be true. Given true top-six minutes and responsibilities, he can deliver offense at a very respectable rate. His 21 goals put him in the league’s top 50 (and tie him with Colorado phenom d-man Cale Makar - if only McCann could play D!) and while his plus minus matches his scoring (-21), one has to acknowledge that he plays on a flawed team.
Drafted by the Vancouver Canucks at Np. 24 overall back in 2014, McCann bounced around, as many late first round picks do. The Kraken are his fourth NHL club (fifth if you count his legendary days with the Leafs), and he even spent a spell with the 2016-17 Springfield Thunderbirds after struggling to find his game with the Florida Panthers. He did discover his game eventually, and those early franchises likely regret giving up on the forward.
McCann is 25, turning 26 in May, meaning he’ll be 30 at the deal’s end. NHL players generally peak over a similar age range, which means that the Kraken shouldn’t have to worry about regretful years on the tail end of the contract. McCann should be a steady threat to score 25 goals a year, and 30 isn’t such a stretch with some luck regarding bounces and health. Over the five year span that’s $40,000 a goal. Good money if you can get it.
The Kraken’s second year roster is going to look very different than their inaugural one. Top prospect Matty Beniers has a good chance of making the jump to the pro league, and the center is said to be both a playmaker and a two-way forward. If the rookie sticks around, he could help McCann increase both of his 21’s, the goals and the plus/minus. Don’t be surprised if Francis adds another piece or two in free agency this offseason as well, now that he knows what he has in his team, and where the gaps that need to be filled exist.
Lastly, while most fans can only dream of receiving a raise like the one McCann is about to get, and would jump at the chance if it came, the signing does give insight into the player’s belief in his new team. A shorter deal could have seen him hit the free agent market in only a season or two, where the right timing and continued production could have meant an even bigger raise. With this contract, McCann has chosen a future in Seattle just as much as they chose him last July.