The Seattle Kraken had a welcome addition at their optional skate Saturday morning: Jared McCann.
Wearing a red no-contact jersey and sporting a full playoff beard, he skated and participated in tip drills. Seattle’s regular-season leader in goals (40) and points (70) hasn’t played since Game-4 against the Colorado Avalanche, when defenseman Cale Makar rammed McCann into the boards with a late hit.
Today was the first time since that he’s taken the ice alongside teammates.
“It’s good to see him back,” said veteran Kraken forward Jordan Eberle. “He’s a big part of this team. He brings a lot of offense, his shot, his wall plays, and things he does on the PK. We rely on our depth, and that’s what’s carried us in his absence, but getting him back would be a big key.”
McCann wasn’t made available to the media afterward and Kraken coach Dave Hakstol wouldn’t address whether the winger was in concussion protocol. Hakstol did confirm that McCann wouldn’t play in Sunday night’s Game-3 of the Kraken’s second round series against the Dallas Stars.
Hakstol wants McCann at 100% before resuming competition.
“He’s going to jump back in at a very high level,” Hakstol said. “We have to do what’s right for a player individually, and what’s right for our team. So, first things first. You have to make sure his health is where it needs to be, and he’s got to be ready to get back into the lineup. We’re not going to rush anything. It’s a step-by-step process.”
Kraken Top Line
Although Hakstol loves to roll four lines and get as much balanced production as possible, there’s no question McCann, Matty Beniers, and Eberle are the Kraken’s top unit when everyone is healthy, particularly with then leading scorer Andre Burakovsky leaving the line-up to injury back on February 7th.
Through the first three games of the playoffs prior to McCann’s setback, that line only produced one goal, but it did tie up the ice time of key Avalanche defenders, allowing Seattle’s depth to shine through. The bottom six forwards and bottom pair defensemen for Colorado struggled in the opening series with overall match-ups.
There is no specific timetable for McCann’s return in that “step by step” process, but one could optimistically suggest that if the Kraken get past the Stars, the 26-year-old lefty would at least be ready for the start of the Western Conference Final.