In all sports, certain players will be asked to shoulder more of a load than others. In Jared McIsaac’s case, he’s being required to do this literally.
For the second straight season, the former Halifax Mooseheads defenseman is in the midst of going through a long rehab process on a surgically-repaired shoulder. He suffered an injury to his left shoulder while playing for HPK in the SM-Liiga, Finland’s top hockey league. The injury happened on his first shift of the season. McIsaac underwent surgery on the shoulder in November. His right shoulder was surgically repaired in June of 2019.
A rebuilding team residing near the bottom of the NHL standings, bettors can access long odds on the Wings winning the 2021 Stanley Cup at Canadasportsbetting.ca. But even after successive shoulder injuries, the Wings, and hockey people in general, remain bullish on McIsaac’s chances of playing in the NHL. Around the league, NHL scouts still are listing him among Detroit’s top-10 NHL prospects.
Another Long Rehab
McIsaac is currently in the midst of a 5-6 month rehab program as he works to return his surgically-repaired shoulder to pristine condition. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on the approach you take to handling the many curveballs that life throws at a person, McIsaac has already been there and done that when it comes to rehabbing a shoulder, so he can draw upon that experience as he goes through it a second time around.
“Six months, it’s a long haul,” McIsaac admitted to DetroitRedWings.com. “It’s a long grind for rehab.”
Instead of taking on a woe is me approach, McIsaac strives to accentuate the positives. For the second straight season, his being injured has given him the chance to work regularly with Red Wings Director of Player Development/Assistant Director of Player Personnel Shawn Horcoff and Player Development Consultant Brandon Naurato as he builds himself up for a return to game action.
“I think I get a lot of skill development from those (sessions) as far as skating and my shot, and the rest of my skills,” McIsaac said. “It’s a great experience. As much as it’s a grind, I really enjoy it.”
Wings Are Still Fans
Looking back at what McIsaac was able to accomplish while helping Canada win the world junior gold medal in 2020, a performance that came just weeks after his return to the ice from his first shoulder surgery, the Wings are confident that he can bounce back again and still see a future for McIsaac in their plans.
“I thought it was huge that he made the team under the circumstances of not playing a lot of hockey early on in the season,” Red Wings director of amateur scouting Kris Draper said. “Obviously he didn’t have a training camp, he had a shoulder, he had surgery on his shoulder, he had to repair that. He basically came back and I think he got eight or nine games before the world junior camp and then went right into that camp and obviously the body of work had a big role in why Jared McIsaac went.
“But for not playing a lot of hockey and going into the best tournament that under-20 hockey players can play in, we all felt as an organization that Mac did a real good job. He was on the PK, he was playing big minutes down the stretch, important minutes against the other teams’ top line. He’s a real competitive hockey player.
A Starring Role In Halifax
McIsaac played four QMJHL seasons with the Mooseheads and was a key performer for the team in 2018-19, when the club played host to the Memorial Cup.
McIsaac was Halifax’s highest-scoring defenseman that season. He finished second among QMJHL rearguards in 2018-19 in both goals (16) and points (62), in just 53 games. As his shoulder worsened through the postseason, McIsaac still managed to accumulate 16 points in 22 playoff games.
“It’s astonishing how well I played and how consistent I was, even with the bum shoulder,” McIsaac said. “I think you kind of take little bits and pieces away from that. Knowing you can kind of push through an injury like that, I guess is kind of a plus side.
“At the end of the day, whether you’re a little banged up, or 100 percent, you need to be able to contribute in your own way. I was kind of lucky enough to be able to do that on an elite team. That kind of helped.”