Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Prospect Jamie McBain On the Fast Track

Carolina Prospect Jamie McBain
(Photo Badger Beat)

Late last season some casual fans and onlookers in Albany may have been a bit curious about the defenseman wearing the name "McBain" for the River Rats.

The 21-year-old point man, Jamie McBain, came directly from the University of Wisconsin after wrapping up his junior year with the Badgers. McBain, a second round Carolina draft pick from 2006, signed a three-year two-way deal with Canes, which is set to begin in 2009-10. He spent the end of last season with Albany to get his first feel for the pros.

In 2008-09, McBain, a classic offensive defenseman, was the Badgers' leading scorer with 37 points (30 G, 7 A) in 40 games. The Wisconsin alternate captain was the highest scoring defenseman in the league. He earned the title of WCHA Player of the Year, was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, and was named a 1st Team All-American. He was called Carolina's most impressive NCAA prospect.

During McBain's first 10 professional contests with the River Rats, the rookie tallied a goal and an assist, and played solid in his own end.

"He's very patient with the puck," said River Rats' coach Jeff Daniels, according to the Albany Times Union. "He does a good job of getting his shots through from the point. He does a good job at joining the rush, not forcing it. It seems real natural for him. He kind of comes in late and finds that open ice. He's had a couple of chances to score just by doing that."

As coach Daniels noted, McBain has the ability to find the net through traffic.

The second goal below, 24 seconds in, is another example. McBain gets an assist on the first shot as well.

McBain passed on his senior year of college, opting instead for a three-year two-way contract with the Canes that included a $255,000 signing bonus. Carolina is obviously interested in putting him on the fast track, but how fast?

There is some speculation that McBain will make it to the NHL next season. This is certainly a possibility, but Carolina has no need to rush the process.

McBain left college early and will probably spend some time developing in the AHL. He will likely start next year in Albany and play a minimum of 30-40 games in a Rats' uniform. This, of course, is just a guess. Some think he will make the Hurricanes' line-up immediately out of training camp. Only time will tell.