One of the more interesting stories around this season’s trade deadline is unsigned college prospect, Jack McBain. The rights to the Minnesota Wild draft pick are expected to be traded in the next few days, as McBain has apparently made it clear he will not be signing with Minnesota and would instead test free agency this summer. He could reach unrestricted free agency in the middle of August, at which point the Wild would receive no compensation and essentially lose the third-round pick they used on McBain in 2018.
Now 22, the Boston College star could sign and play with a team this season, adding an impressive 6’4″ forward into the mix. In 24 games at BC this season he scored 19 goals and 33 points, while also attending the Olympics with Team Canada. The asking price was believed to be a second-round pick, though Darren Dreger of TSN suggests it could even be climbing as multiple teams join the hunt to try and get him signed.
Selected 63rd overall in 2018, McBain was the first pick of the third round and could quickly become one of the steals of the draft should his college production carry over to the professional ranks. Big, two-way centers aren’t easy to come by, and given the sneaky amount of skill that McBain possesses, there may even be more than the bottom-six pivot he still projects as. If he can carve out a role similar to Joel Eriksson Ek, for instance, he would obviously be worth even more than a second-round pick.
That’s obviously not a guarantee though, and as contenders load up on rentals, McBain’s future may lie with a team not quite as close to the top. Prospects in a situation like this often chase the best opportunity, not necessarily the best team, as they hope to make an impact early on. Given that he’s already 22, McBain will be signing a two-year entry-level contract, meaning he’ll be set to reach restricted free agency by the end of 2022-23. If he wants to have NHL stats to take into a negotiation, finding a home with a less impressive depth chart may be the way to go.