Weight: 196 pounds
Date of birth: January 6, 2000
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 1, 20th overall (Barrie Colts) 2016 Priority Selection; Round 7, 107th overall (Lincoln Stars) USHL Futures Draft.
Coming into the season, Jack McBain was considered one of the top prospects playing in Ontario for the 2018 National Hockey League Entry Draft, and rightfully so. While listed on NHL Central Scouting’s players to watch list as a B prospect (2nd or 3rd round candidate) to start the year, and again on their updated list in November, one can’t imagine him not moving up. He’s already ranked in the first round on most independent scouting services and has been for some time.
McBain is the son of former NHL’er Andrew McBain, who was a former first round pick, 8th overall, by the Winnipeg Jets in 1983. The elder McBain played in 608 NHL games scoring 129 goals and 172 assists with the Jets, Canucks, Penguins and Senators.
McBain has always had his eye on playing in the NCAA. In this article with the Barrie Examiner, McBain spoke openly about considering the Ontario Hockey League and the Barrie Colts. But if the NCAA was going to be his route to the NHL, then the OHL was out of the question. (The NCAA considers Major Junior players professionals and therefore, ineligible).
To keep his NCAA eligibility, McBain had two realistic choices: The Ontario Junior Hockey League or the United States Hockey League – where he was drafted by the Lincoln Stars. He chose the OJHL and his hometown Toronto Jr Canadiens.
In March of this year, McBain stayed true to his heart and committed to Boston College for 2018. Thus, McBain was left with another decision to make coming into this season: return to the Jr Canadiens and the OJHL or jump to the Stars and the USHL. Once again, he chose Toronto.
During the 2015 – 2016 season, McBain played his Minor Midget hockey for the Don Mills Flyers where he was captain of his squad and his father was an assistant coach. He would appear in 45 games and score 25 goals while adding 48 assists. In 6 games for the Flyers at the OHL Cup, he would add 8 assists. He would also represent Team GTHL Red at the OHL Gold Cup where he scored 5 goals and 3 assists in 5 games.
Last season McBain broke onto the OJHL scene and appeared in 42 games notching 13 goals and 28 assists in 42 games. He would add 4 goals and 8 assists in 11 playoff games and was named OJHL First Team All-Prospect. He also got a taste of international hockey with Canada at the World Junior A Challenge Under-19.
This season began in August for McBain by representing Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial. In helping Canada capture gold, he scored 3 goals and added 2 assists. He saved his best performance for the gold medal game as he scored once and set up two others in a 4-1 victory over the defending champion Czech Republic.
This season, McBain is well on his way to surpassing his totals from a year ago. He has 12 goals and 26 assists through 31 games. His 38 points puts him second among the Jr Canadiens as does his goals while he leads his squad in assists.
McBain has got size and he has strength. Just imagine how much stronger he can be once he fills out his 6’3” frame. He’s already tough to play against and even harder to control. Speed is not an asset he possesses, or more accurately, explosiveness on his first steps. Improving on his first few strides can be crucial to him and by all accounts, he knows this and continues to work on it. Once he gets going however, his speed is more than adequate.
McBain has a lot of assets that benefit a hockey player, but it’s hard to pick out which may be his best asset. Perhaps it is his work ethic and his will to be the best he can be every time he’s on the ice. And he puts that devotion in at both ends of the ice.
Maybe it’s McBain’s vision. He sees the ice extremely well and can read and react quickly. He has an uncanny ability to slow the pace down and the patience to let the play develop and then strike with either a crisp tape-to-tape pass or fire a deceptive, accurate and hard shot with a purpose. And he’s willing to drive the net with or without the puck.
Or could it be McBain’s impressive two-way game? We are already aware of his offensive prowess, but his defensive game is somewhat underrated in some circles. He uses his smarts defensively as he does on the offense. His stick is almost always on the ice and in passing lanes. He reads and anticipates so well that he outthinks the opposition. He uses his big frame to take opponents out along the wall and to win one-on-one battles.
If that isn’t enough, then it might be McBain’s elite puck skills. He handles the puck extremely well even at top speed. He strong at keeping possession, can dangle one-on-one or find open areas or lanes to move into with possession.
McBain is currently at Team Canada East’s camp along with 39 other prospects vying for a spot at the World Junior A Challenge.
Eliteprospects.com stat page profile of Jack McBain