Kraken in Toronto: Jared McCann signs 5-year extension

Calgary Flames v Seattle Kraken

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 30: Jared McCann #16 of the Seattle Kraken warms up before the game against the Calgary Flames at Climate Pledge Arena on December 30, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)Photo: Getty Images

Jared McCann is going nowhere. 

Except for maybe an upgrade for a new residence in the Seattle area. 

The seventh-year NHL forward, recently surpassing 400 career games and a previously pending restricted free agent, secured his long term future Tuesday with the Seattle Kraken just less than a two-hour drive from his hometown of Stratford, Ontario, when he signed a five-year, 25-million contract extension, the team announced just before morning skate for the only Kraken visit this season against the host Toronto Maple Leafs at 4:30pm PT. 

“I’ve rented my whole career in the NHL,” said McCann. “To be able to own something would take a lot of weight off the shoulders.” 

Taking this season of new opportunities and challenges with an expansion team and returning the investment with a new career-high 21 goals, leading the Kraken, the deal now gives Seattle a piece to build with for the future. 

“It sends a message,” said general manager Ron Francis. “Certainly in Jared’s case. He’s excited to be in Seattle. He’s excited as a lot of our players are, the way ownership and management treats the players and the passionate fan base, and the city itself.” 

With the Kraken in line for a lottery pick, out of the playoff picture by 27 points with 24 games to play, they are projected to head into a summer of transformation which started off with hints from Francis about aggressively using cap space to be active in the free agent market, and sign second overall pick Matty Beniers as soon as his college season at Michigan is complete. 

McCann’s breakthrough season is secured as a piece of that plan, potentially surrounded by an added supporting cast to be announced, and where Dave Hakstol expects a consistent line of production and the continued development of effectiveness in all three zones. 

“I believe he’s showed a fairly consistent trend with the type of season he’s having right now,” said Hakstol. “The numbers he’s putting up in terms of goals, that’s a hell of a season he has going right now. He’s on a pretty good trajectory.” 

“That’ll be something for him to shoot for – the type of season he’s having offensively, building and growing his game in a 200-foot sense, and being able to do that consistently over time.” 

McCann, an Ontario native, will be joined by Mark Giordano, Vince Dunn, Jamie Oleksiak, and Riley Sheahan returning to their home province for the game, while head coach Dave Hakstol and assistant coach Paul MacFarland are back facing their former employers. 

They are the Leafs, who snuck out of Columbus with a 5-4 victory last night and are playing on the second leg of back-to-back games. Auston Matthews became the first player in the NHL this season to hit 40 goals and tied Darryl Sittler’s franchise record with four consecutive 40-goal seasons. 

The Kraken will ice the same lineup as in Sunday’s 3-2 loss at Carolina. Philipp Grubauer will start in net. 

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