Toronto made a last-minute trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins for McCann in exchange for 21-year-old prospect Filip Hallander and a 2023 seventh-round pick. The Maple Leafs guaranteed they will enter the 2021-22 season with at least one middle-six centre, either McCann or Alex Kerfoot, while also being able to protect a fourth defenceman in Justin Holl.
McCann was drafted with the 24th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Vancouver Canucks. He played two seasons with the Sault Saint Marie Greyhounds before his draft. He played one more season with the Greyhounds before playing in his first season with the Canucks in 2015-16. He was then traded to the Florida Panthers, where he spent the following three seasons before being traded to Pittsburgh midway through the 2018-19 season. His two-and-a-half-year tenure with the Penguins ended before Saturday’s trade freeze.
Professional Journey Through 2020-21
McCann spent most of the 2020-21 season switching between playing centre and on the wing for the Penguins. He finished the season with 14 goals and 32 points in 43 games.
Throughout the season, he saw an increase in responsibility, with the Penguins losing Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen to injury mid-way through the season. He scored nine goals and posted 20 points in the team’s final 24 games of the season. In those 24 games, he was first on the team in power-play goals with six and second on the team in power-play points with nine behind Sidney Crosby. He moved to the wing once the Penguins added centre, Jeff Carter, playing alongside the team’s newest addition.
McCann signed a two-year, $5.88 million contract extension before the 2020-21 season. He has one more season remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $2.94 million.
What McCann Brings to the Kraken
For the Kraken, the choice was likely between McCann and Kerfoot. Although Kerfoot brings a bit more to the table as a player who can produce offensively and can kill penalties, McCann can produce just as well and has a lower cap hit and shorter term.
The Kraken are adding a versatile middle-six centre in McCann. Similar to Kerfoot, he has the ability to play centre and the on the wing. McCann’s offensive production has continued to produce over his career. In the 2020-21 season, he was on pace to scoring a career-high 27 goals and posting a career-high 61 points in an 82 game season. The Kraken are adding a 25 year old forward who can potentially become a top producer for them over the years.
Other Notable Exposed Maple Leafs
Aside from McCann, the Maple Leafs also left Kerfoot, Wayne Simmonds, Jason Spezza, Travis Dermott, and Michael Hutchinson unprotected. Additionally, Nick Foligno, Alex Galchenyuk, Zach Hyman, Fredrik Anderson are notable pending free agents who were left unprotected.
- Nick Foligno
- Alex Galchenyuk
- Zach Hyman
- Alex Kerfoot
- Riley Nash
- Wayne Simmonds
- Jason Spezza
- Joe Thornton
- Zach Bogosian
- Travis Dermott
- Frederik Andersen
- Michael Hutchinson
- David Rittich
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.