Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2018 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here.
In recent years there has been a battle between the NCAA and the CHL for young, talented hockey players. This battle means that more and more teenagers are choosing to play Junior A hockey instead of Major Junior, in order to maintain their college eligibility. One of those talented youngsters is Toronto-native Jack McBain. Despite being drafted in the first round, 20th overall, in the 2016 OHL Draft, McBain opted to play for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the OJHL. He put up 21 goals and 37 assists for 58 points in 48 games. He was even more dominant in the playoffs, with nine points in four games, before being suspended and having to watch his team get eliminated in the first round.
McBain has represented Canada internationally on a number of occasions. He only played one game at the 2016-17 Under-17 World Hockey Championships before being hurt. His team won a silver medal. Things were better at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, where he put up five points in five games on his way to a gold medal. He also had six points in four games in the World Junior A Hockey Championships. McBain has three points in four games at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships.
McBain is committed to attend Boston College next season.
Jack McBain Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born January 6th, 2000 — Toronto, Ontario
Height 6’3″ — Weight 197 lbs [191 cm / 89 kg]
McBain’s skating is the biggest concern about his game. He particularly needs to work on his first few steps and his acceleration. McBain has a short, choppy stride in startup. Once he gets moving, it lengthens, giving him good top end speed. However, those first few steps can be an issue in getting to loose pucks and in making short bursts to the net. Its something he will need to work on in the coming years. McBain has good agility and the ability to beat defenceman one-on-one. He also has good balance on his skates and works well in the cycle.
McBain has excellent size and reach. He uses his frame effectively to win battles in the corners and to get to the front of the net, where he screens goalies and gets tip-ins and rebounds. McBain looks to extend plays in the cycle and finding teammates with a pass in front of the net. His big frame helps him to protect the puck, but he can work on being stronger on the puck. He has very good vision and passing skills. His strong hockey IQ allows him to anticipate plays, and find open teammates for a scoring pass. He can make tape-to-tape passes through traffic, as well as land a saucer pass right on his teammates’ stick.
McBain also has the smarts to get open without the puck. He finds soft spots in the defence and gets open for a pass. McBain has an excellent wrist shot and release. He also has a good one-timer. He needs to shoot more often though. He can sometimes pass up a good shot, holding onto the puck too long, and waiting for a better opportunity that does not come.
McBain’s defensive game is a major question mark. Due to the level of competition he faces, he hasn’t been challenged a whole lot at the OJHL level. This shows when he plays in international tournaments. He lacks fundamentals in his own end, and often looks lost. He will need some coaching in the coming years.
Projection and Comparison
There are lots of things to like about McBain, and he could grow into solid centre at the NHL level, capable of providing top-six offence. However, there are some concerns as well. He will need to improve his skating and defensive game. More concerning though is that despite the offensive tools, there is a bit of a lack of production. A player of McBain’s ability should be expected to dominate the OJHL, and while he was good, his numbers don’t display the level of dominance expected. McBain’s game is reminiscent of Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks. This is a style comparison only though and not one based on talent or potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the many highlight packages of McBain that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
— Jeff Angelidis (@JJA19) March 9, 2017