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McCann Helps Give Penguins Versatility at Center

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In Jared McCann, acquired Friday from the Florida Panthers in a trade, the Pittsburgh Penguins are getting a young center with pedigree who is under contract through the 2019-20 season.

Along with Nick Bjugstad, also acquired in the trade, McCann gives the Penguins options at center, where Derick Brassard just couldn’t find the right fit in the middle of the third line. Brassard and another center, Riley Sheahan, were shipped to the Panthers. Matt Cullen also can play center or wing.

McCann, 22, was a 2014 first-round draft pick by Vancouver. He was traded to Florida for Erik Gudbranson in May 2016.

“I’m a guy that likes to shoot the puck first,” McCann told the Panthers website in November at a time he was elevated to Florida’s second line.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Stratford, Ontario, has fluctuated among the bottom three lines this season and has also played wing.

Last season, McCann had career highs of 19 assists and 28 points and matched his career high with nine goals, all in 68 games. This season he has eight goals, 18 points in 46 games.

Last summer, he signed a $2.5 million, two-year contract to remain with Florida. At the time, Panthers general manager Dale Tallon cited McCann’s upside for re-signing him.

“Jared is a versatile two-way centerman who possesses excellent speed and suits our team well,” Tallon said then. “He has improved his game during his time with our organization and we look forward to him taking the next step in his development with the Panthers.”

Now it is the Penguins who are taking over the oversight of McCann’s development.

 

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Shelly is the newest columnist and reporter for Pittsburgh Hockey Now. She was a Penguins beat writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and remains a contributor to The Hockey News. Catch her on Twitter @_shellyanderson

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