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Don’t Forget About Jared McIsaac, Because the Red Wings Haven’t

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Jared McIsaac, Grand Rapids Griffins
Defenseman Jared McIsaac has 10 points in 32 games for the Grand Rapids Griffins this season. (Photo by Mark Newman)

The Jared McIsaac 2021-22 stat line that is most important to the Detroit Red Wings and to the young defenseman is this one:

Games Played: 32.

The Grand Rapids Griffins have played 33 games this season. That means Jared McIsaac stayed healthy for the first season since turning pro in 2020.

“Poor (McIsaac): his first couple of years as a pro have been, not derailed, but delayed,” Griffins coach Ben Simon said. “You take a look back and he played 10 pro games last year. That’s it. The year before he played one. Technically, this is his third year, but he’s only played 43 total pro games.”

Jared McIssac has fought back from two major shoulder injuries to establish himself as one of the Red Wings’ better defensive prospects. He has 10 points in 32 games and is starting to show the smart play associated with top prospects. He’s in the group of desirable defensive prospects that includes Donovan Sebrango,  William Wallinder, Eemil Viro and Shai Buium. Simon Edvinsson is in a class by himself.

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“For him, its just getting some more mileage on the tires,” Simon said. “Getting some experience, being put in situations that will help him as a player. He has been used on the (penalty kill) and power play, on 5-on-5, he has been paired with all kinds of different guys.”

Playing with Confidence

The Red Wings drafted McIsaac in the second round in 2018. He projected as a two-way defenseman. The season after he was drafted, before he turned pro, he posted 16 goals and 62 points for Halifax in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

“For him, when you have that history of injuries, it’s going into games and playing with confidence that you are not going to play shy,”  Simon said. “If I had two significant shoulder injures that have delayed the onset of my pro career, it is probably natural to be a little bit hesitant at first. To his credit I think he has shaken that stigma and moved on.”

The season has gone particularly well when you consider that it looked like McIsaac has suffered another significant injury in the Prospects Tournament in Traverse City. He left one game on a stretcher. But it turned out that it looked worse than the injury he received.

“I think he has absolutely improved,” Simon said, “from the first day we stepped on the ice at the rookie tournament to where he is now.”