Jared McIsaac (Photo by Halifax Mooseheads)

by Blain Potvin, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

In 2016, the Halifax Mooseheads won the QMJHL draft lottery, and with it, selected Benoit Olivier-Groulx. Halifax GM Cam Russell  swung a blockbuster trade immediately after the first pick was made to land the second overall pick from Baie-Comeau, selecting Jared McIsaac.

Jared McIsaac, D, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
March 27, 2000 | Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada
6-1, 194 lbs. | Shoots Left | @mcisaacjared
2017-’18: 65 GP, 9 G, 38 A, 47 PTS

CSB: No. 13 (NA Skaters)| ISS: No.19 | HP: No.22 | FC: No.13 | McKeen’s: No. 19

The Cole Harbour Midgets product had 32 points in 59 games in his rookie season with the Mooseheads and his solid defensive play was enough to earn him a nod as the QMJHL Defensive Rookie of the year and a nomination to the All-Rookie team that season. None of that helped the Mooseheads as they fell in five games in the first round of the playoffs, albeit with a very young and inexperienced team.

He has also been a mainstay with Hockey Canada as he has held leadership roles. As an under-aged 16-year-old with the U17 program, he was an assistant captain, and now in his second season with the U18 program, holds the same title.

His second QMJHL season saw a developmental leap forward as McIssac was able to improve on every aspect of his game while leading the Halifax blue line in goals (9), assists (38), points (47), penalty minutes (86) and ice-time in all situations as the go to defender for his former Mooseheads head coach Jim Midgley. This season his play helped lead a stronger Mooseheads squad into the second round, where they fell to a more experienced team with a goaltender on a hot streak.

The six-foot-one, 194-pound defenceman is an excellent skater. His edgework, quick feet and ability to pivot at top speed allows him to keep tight gaps defensively and also makes it very difficult for even the fastest of forwards to beat him on the rush or to the outside. His mobility is also used on the offensive side of the puck to create space when in possession of the puck. 

“[McIssac] has a solid defensive foundation that puts him near the head of this ‘D’ class.” 

According to Sportsnet analyst Sam Cosentino, McIsaac is a “hard-nosed kid who has settled in after a slow start to the season. (He) has an acute ability to raise his level of play when the competition calls for it. He has a solid defensive foundation that puts him near the head of this ‘D’ class.” 

McIsaac’s main focus is on the defensive aspects of his game. He is solid in his own end, using his skating ability to cover much of the defensive zone, providing outlets to his defensive partners. His confidence relying on his skills is high as he is not intimidated by attacking players.

His positioning is very good as he thinks the defensive game very well using a long reach to disrupt passing and shooting lanes. He also has a physical edge to his game, using his size to win board battles and to help clear the front of the net.

McIsaac has a great balance to his overall game. He has a strong hockey IQ with the ability to read developing plays quite well. Decision-making is also good as he is adept at making  an accurate outlet pass or leading an offensive rush without sacrificing his defensive play.

He is still learning how to best use his offensive skills and is not error-free.  McIssac is  prone to force plays offensively and needs more awareness in that zone to better read the oncoming pressure. That being said, he has the drive and will to never quit on a play and to learn from his mistakes.

McIssac has an excellent shot. He can fire a laser-accurate slapshot or choose to place a wrist shot through a crowd. His ability to get pucks to the net as well as feed accurate passes makes him a quality power-play quarterback. Despite a strong work ethic, one downside to McIsaac’s game is his game-to-game consistency.

He is projected to be a mid first-round selection but may slide to the end of the first. In this scenario the Canadiens can use a combination of picks to move up from the second round to acquire this left-handed puck-moving defenceman. In my eyes, McIsaac projects as a top-four defender and power-play quarterback. He is the type of player who does everything well but is not specialized in any one aspect of the game.