Seen as a potential first rounder in his draft year, Jared McIsaac has had a rough couple of years since the Detroit Red Wings selected him in the second round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Let’s examine his development thus far – and more importantly, what’s kept him from development.
Grand Rapids Griffins
Games Played: 10
Left Shot Defenseman
The last few years have not been kind to McIsaac. In his draft year, McIsaac was producing efficiently in the QMJHL, scoring 16 goals and 16 assists in 53 games as one of the team’s alternate captains.
However, in his draft +1 year, a shoulder surgery forced McIsaac into a limited role in the QMJHL, only playing in 28 games total (4 goals and 15 assists in that time). He also had a role with Team Canada in the U-20 tournament, scoring a goal and three assists in seven games.
McIsaac entered the 2020-21 season looking to play his first full season in two years. He was loaned to HPK in Finland’s pro-league, Liiga. However, on the very first shift of his first game, McIsaac reaggravated the shoulder injury, which required yet another major surgery.
When healthy, McIsaac is a two-way defenseman with high upside. His skating is perhaps his greatest asset, helping both on the offensive and defensive end. Offensively, he likes to skate around the offensive zone, waiting for a defensive lap or opening in the net. McIsaac has a solid array of shots, especially for a defenseman. He has an accurate wrister, a quick one-timer and a solid slapshot. Defensively, he uses his physicality to halt the rush and harass forwards in the offensive zone.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to scout for McIsaac, as he hasn’t had a full season since his draft year. The ten-game stretch in Grand Rapids was decent, but the sample size was too small to pull anything substantial.
He’s a tough prospect to predict. Unfortunately, with all the damage done to his progression, it’ll probably be a bit before McIsaac finds his way to the main roster – if he does at all. Luckily, Detroit has a bit of time to see what they are working with, as his entry-level contract doesn’t end until after the 2022-23 season. Steve Yzerman will have at least two more seasons to see what he has in the young Canadian defenseman. The skills are still there, it’s just a matter of luck finally turning around for McIsaac.