Patrick McNally is an offensive defenseman drafted in the fourth round (115th overall) in the 2010 NHL draft. He happened to be the Canucks' No. 1 pick in 2010, due to a trade that sent Keith Ballard to Vancouver.
McNally grew up playing hockey in the Suffolk PAL program, where famous coach Alexi Nikiforov has groomed numerous quality NHLers. Canucks forward Chris Higgins, Dallas forward Eric Nystrom and Toronto defenseman Mike Komisarek are a few notable names that have come out of the system.
The Glen Head, New York native played high school hockey for Milton Academy in Massachusetts. He recorded 14 goals and 21 assists (35 points) in 28 games played—making him the team's leading scorer for the 2009-10 season.
McNally has the size (6'2'' and 180 lbs) to play with speed, athleticism and passion to generate offense. He displays sound hockey sense offensively, and he plays a tight, clean defensive game, closing quickly on the forward entering zone.
With McNally playing his first season at Harvard this year, he has found a lot of success in ECAC Hockey of the NCAA. In his freshman year, McNally scored an impressive six goals and 22 assists (28 points) in 34 games played. With that, the ECAC nominated him as one of three finalists to win the Rookie of the Year award.
The Vancouver Canucks will probably be patient with McNally and let him develop in college for four complete years. This is the first season that McNally has faced strong competition, and he also needs to build more muscle to handle to rigors of the NHL 82-game regular season.
With the success this season, the Canucks know that in two or three seasons, they can expect to have a very solid offensive defenseman ready to jump in on the roster if he develops according to plan.
This is Joseph Trenton reporting from Vancouver.
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