Canucks fans on Twitter got something to chew on this morning, when an interesting quote surfaced from defenceman Andrey Pedan.
Andrei Pedan to Sport-Express: 'McCann was the only guy in #Canucks I couldn't get along. Sometimes he acted like he's the lonely star here'
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) May 31, 2016
Rumours of the Canucks’ displeasure with McCann’s attitude have been prevalent for a while now. Even everyone’s favourite hockey mom let it slip back in February.
— Omar A (@omarcanuck) February 11, 2016
We’ll probably never know the degree to which McCann’s perceived attitude affected Jim Benning’s decision to trade him, but it’s looking more and more likely that it was a factor to some degree.
Let’s forget for a moment that Andrey Pedan, a player with zero points and 13 games in the NHL, is in no position to be blasting former teammates in the media. His comments are telling.
Cue the debate.
How much should a player’s attitude or off-ice conduct affect a team’s decision to keep him?
Is McCann – who turned 20-years-old today – a bad apple or just a kid who needs to mature? There’s no definitive answer to this question.
And if you’re wrong in your assessment on the wrong player, the results can be devastating.
That’s what happened when the Boston Bruins were looking to trade Tyler Seguin. Benning, who was Boston’s assistant GM at the time, was in favour of it.
The Bruins have missed the playoffs in two of the last three years while Tyler Seguin has blossomed into an elite scorer, putting up 234 points in 223 games with the Dallas Stars.
The Canucks moved on from Zack Kassian last season, which appears to be the correct decision. Of course if Kassian scores 20 goals next season, it won’t look so bright.
The analytics crowd will tell you that attitude, personality, and character is a lot of hot air. While the media likes to oversell the affect of intangibles, some things exist that just can’t be measured.
Things like team morale matters in any job, including pro sports. Just don’t oversell it.
Give me 20 talented jerks over 20 talentless sweethearts to win today. Just be ready for 20 guys demanding a trade out of town tomorrow.
Fedor Fedorov was such a jerk that Kevin Bieksa fought him when they were teammates with the Manitoba Moose in 2004. The Canucks waited too long to make a decision on Fedorov though and didn’t get much value back once they eventually dealt him to the New York Rangers in 2005.
The Philadelphia Flyers got rid of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in 2011 in part because of off-ice conduct. While Richards was a key member of the Kings’ championship team in 2012, he was a fourth liner in 2014 and dispatched to the AHL before his 30th birthday.
Jeff Carter, on the other hand, is an elite player and a fixture on Team Canada.
You win some, you lose some I guess. But lose the wrong ones and you’re in big trouble.
Mike Gillis got rid of Cody Hodgson in part because he was a headache to deal with. Hodgson finished this year in the AHL, so I’d say moving on from him turned out to be the right decision.
Is Jared McCann the next Cody Hodgson or Fedor Fedorov? Is he the next Jeff Carter or Tyler Seguin?
As is usually the case, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle.