Vancouver signs ’14 first-rounder Jared McCann

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After being selected with the 24th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Jared McCann has signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks, per the club’s announcement.

Along with forward Nick Bonino and defenseman Luca Sbisa, McCann was one of the two picks the Canucks got from Anaheim in the Ryan Kesler trade. The Canucks also received the 85th overall selection in the 2014 draft and they traded it to the New York Rangers to acquire Derek Dorsett.

McCann is a two-way center that recorded 27 goals, 35 assists, and 51 penalty minutes in 64 OHL games with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2013-14. Although it’s unfair at this stage to suggest the 18-year-old forward will eventually replace Kesler, it is worth noting that McCann has cited Kesler as one of his influences.

“Kesler is a complete player, amazing offensively and defensively,” McCann told the Vancouver Sun. “He can score but he can be put in those key situations when time is ticking down, or anything like that. Those are definitely some big shoes to fill, for sure, and I need to improve both offensively and defensively. I feel I can make those strides to become better.”