The Minnesota Wild called then-18-year-old Boston College men’s hockey forward Jack McBain’s name in the third round of the 2018 NHL Draft before his first steps on the Heights. But the Wild and McBain never agreed to a contract.
On Sunday, with his rights set to expire at the end of the 2021–22 NHL season, the Wild traded McBain to the Arizona Coyotes. On Monday, the Coyotes signed McBain to a two-year, entry-level contract with a salary cap of $884,000.
Despite being drafted in 2018, McBain chose to take the college hockey route, committing to BC rather than playing at the junior level. The NHL allows teams to hold a drafted player’s rights for three years before either signing him to an NHL contract or allowing him to become a free agent and sign elsewhere.
The move follows a trend of many other former NCAA and current NHL stars, including Harvard’s Adam Fox and Jimmy Vesey, whose original NHL team traded them to another team as their rights expired rather than allowing the players to become free agents.
With McBain not intending to sign a contract, the Wild salvaged some value by trading him before Monday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, rather than losing the Ontario native to free agency for nothing in return.
McBain tallied 86 points in 117 career NCAA games for the Eagles as he moved his way up head coach Jerry York’s lineup over four years.
In his senior campaign, McBain recorded a team-high 33 points in 24 games centering York’s top line. McBain missed significant time this season due to a lower back injury and his departure for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
BC’s season came to an end in a loss to Northeastern in the Hockey East Tournament semifinals, putting a cap to McBain’s college career. As the Eagles’ season ended, McBain’s NHL future became a prominent discussion point in the NHL news world, with a number of teams demonstrating interest in his rights.
Minnesota received a 2022 second-round draft pick for McBain.
McBain leaves the Wild, which sits at No. 3 in the Central Division of the NHL’s Western Conference, for a struggling Coyotes team that ranks last in the same division with a 20–38–4 record.
The 6-foot-4 center has multiple connections to the Coyotes franchise and worked with Arizona head coach André Tourigny during Team Canada’s summer camp. McBain was selected to Team Canada this winter by general manager Shane Doan, the Coyotes’ chief hockey development officer.
McBain’s trade adds to a busy week for the Eagles, as teammates Drew Helleson and Marc McLaughlin signed NHL contracts on Tuesday. Helleson, originally drafted to the Colorado Avalanche, signed a contract with the Anaheim Ducks, and undrafted free agent McLaughlin signed a two-year contract with the Boston Bruins.
Featured Image by Leo Wang / Heights Staff