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Drawing parallels between the McCann and Dahlen situation

The 22-year-old is playing the best hockey of his career in Pittsburgh.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Jared McCann (19) reacts after scoring a goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nearly three full seasons have gone by since the Vancouver Canucks traded their “lonely star” and two draft picks to the Florida Panthers for Erik Gudbranson.

It was a trade that was lambasted at the time by Canucks fans, and rightly so.

The only part of the trade that made it somewhat bearable, is that Jared McCann wasn’t excelling in Florida. He was sent down to the minors by November during the 2016-17 season, where he spent the majority of the season.

Last season though, McCann started to improve. He wasn’t an impact player, but he posted a respectable 28 points in 68 games.

This season, it was more of the same for McCann. Decent middle-six production but not a bonafide offensive threat.

Then came his trade to the Pittsburgh Penguins. After seeing him produce there, it should stir up all of the anxious feeling you had when he was traded away.

McCann rising

Since joining the Pittsburgh Penguins, McCann has nine goals and 13 points in 21 games. Sure, you could just attribute that to playing with Sidney Crosby, but what would the reaction be like in Vancouver if we had a 22-year-old winger scoring at nearly a half-goal per game rate for 20 games?

Would Nikolay Goldobin score nine goals in 21 games playing with Crosby?

McCann is still being used like a middle-six winger for the Pens. He’s only averaging about 30 seconds more per game with Pittsburgh (14:30), although he has surpassed the 17 minute mark in five of the last six games. He’s scoring an extra goal per hour in all situations as well. To boot, McCann also has two short-handed goals for the Pens.

In fairness, it might be nothing more than the Sidney Crosby factor coupled with a hot streak. However, when you consider how thin the Canucks are on the wing, it’s hard to ignore the early contributions of McCann.

Seriously, would McCann be the number one left-winger in Vancouver right now? He doesn’t have a ton of competition. Josh Leivo might be better, but not by much, if at all.

McCann & the Dahlen Situation

Jonathan Dahlen
Jonathan Dahlen celebrates a goal during the 2018 Young Stars Action in Vancouver. Dahlen never got the chance to donn a Canucks jersey in regular season action.
@Canucks, Twitter

Watching McCann light it up for the Pittsburgh Penguins in his third season after leaving Vancouver should make you ponder...

What will Jonathan Dahlen look like by 2022?

Whether or not you’re a believer in Dahlen, or you feel like he deserved to be traded based on his perceived attitude, it’s a troubling sign nonetheless for a rebuilding team to be giving up on young prospects as such a young age.

It’s especially troubling when the Canucks aren’t getting much in return for said prospects.

Look, Linus Karlsson might be something, but so might Dahlen. In terms of what the Canucks got for McCann, it looks less and less favourable by the day.

Ironically enough, the McCann trade tree has turned into Tanner Pearson as the lone asset in the deal. The 26-year-old Pearson has one goal and one assist in seven games. Pearson is also under contract for two more years at $3.75 million, while McCann is signed for one more season at Compared to what McCann is giving to the Pens, Pearson’s early production is paltry.

It might not look as bad as this oversimplified trade tree for Erik Gudbranson, but it’s a bad look for the Canucks nonetheless.

McCann just turned 20 when he was traded by the Canucks, whereas Dahlen was about 14 months older at the time of his trade.

Both players were traded by perceived attitude problems. Andrey Pedan, now out of the NHL, called McCann the “lonely star” back in 2016. The Canucks also cried out that Dahlen requested a trade, noting lack of playing time.

To be blunt, a general manager on a rebuilding team should not be trading young players away for pennies on the dollar. The gamble of trading Gudbranson for McCann was laughable at the time, and it’s now cringe-worthy in 2019.

What’s to say the Dahlen doesn’t backfire on the Canucks in a similar fashion?