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Top 25 Under 25: Top defensive prospect, Jared McIsaac, comes in at 14.

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Canada v Switzerland: Exhibition - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship

Who is Jared McIsaac?

Position: Defense

Height/Weight: 6’1” / 192 lbs

Shoots: Left

Birthday: March 27, 2000 (19 years old)

Birthplace: Truro, NS, Canada

Draft: 2018 2nd round (#36 overall)

Stats

What do we like about him?

McIsaac was considered a steal, much like Joe Veleno, in the 2018 NHL Draft as many assumed the left-handed defenseman would have been taken in the 1st round. Scouts raved about almost all aspects of his game. His skating and puck-handling are his biggest assets, and that’s always good for guys on the blue line. He’s not afraid to carry the puck up ice to start rushes, or snap it tape-to-tape from the defensive zone. He took another major leap in the Q this past year, and if it weren’t for Halifax’s deep playoff run (and the opposite for Grand Rapids), McIsaac would have seen some time in the AHL playoffs. There’s a reason scouts, and the Red Wings, love him. His two-way ability and high ceiling provide the Wings with possibly their best defensive prospect in the organization.

What needs work?

McIsaac’s biggest problem right now is consistency and decision-making, although it was seemingly more of an issue before the draft. It doesn’t stem from a poor work ethic, more so just the fact he’s still so young and raw. Now some of those inconsistencies were put to rest last year as once again his points and +/- increased substantially (as it did the two years prior), but obviously the Red Wings aren’t going to bring in a guy unless they know he can play his best night in, night out. Looking back at WIIM’s pre-draft rankings in 2018, many of you didn’t even want to take a stab at McIsaac because of his decision-making and poor hockey IQ. Well I’m here to tell you that this past year McIsaac took a huge leap forward in his development that has everyone pleased. Another area that needs some work is his strength. At 6’1”/192, the size is there and so is his toughness, but he tends to get pushed around on the ice and this is only in the Q. He needs to get stronger, but that’s also the same for most of these young prospects.

What’s next for him?

Unfortunately, back in June, it was announced that McIsaac would be sidelined for 5-6 months after having shoulder surgery. He ended up playing through the injury for half of last year, and still put up numbers might I add. The timeline is now skewed for McIsaac, who will be entering the 2nd year of his ELC. On one hand I could see him playing in Grand Rapids right away because that was the plan before Halifax made a run to the QMJHL Finals. However, depending on when he returns, I could see him staying in Halifax to finish off the year and get his legs back under him before going to Grand Rapids to start his pro career. Yes, the surgery sucks to hear, but outside of just possibly burning another year on his ELC, McIsaac’s road to the NHL is still well in tact and I plan to see him on the Red Wings early into the 2020-21 season.