Checking Out Jamie McGinn

March 6 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Marco Scandella (6) collides into Colorado Avalanche left wing Jamie McGinn (11) during the first period of the game at the Pepsi Center. The Avalanche defeated the Wild 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

When left-winger Jamie McGinn found out he'd been traded to the Colorado Avalanche, he couldn't have been in a more uncomfortable position. He was sitting 35,000 feet in the air, watching the wire for trade news with his teammates. Official reports blew up about a deal between the Avs and the San Jose Sharks. For some time, none of the players knew which one of them would now be calling Denver home. Then it happened. A tap on the shoulder. "Coach wants to see you." You can imagine what came next: the sideways glances from the guys, the mixture of relief and sorrow in their eyes. Everyone surely knew it meant Jamie was no longer a part of their team. And for the remainder of the flight—hours of being stuck in the last place he'd want to be right then—that awkward, tense feeling would only grow.

But true to his nature, McGinn handled it like a pro. Comcast SportsNet California Sharks analyst Drew Remenda was on the plane, too and, of course, sat down with the forward to talk about it. Remenda asked him his immediate thoughts on the situation. Rather than focusing on the negatives, McGinn acknowledged the difficulty of the news and then turned his thoughts towards the future.

Well, you know, it's a tough one to swallow right away. It's kind of a a difficult situation to be told -- ...doing it in the air. I just feel for my family right now, not being able to talk to them and stuff like that.

But you look at the big picture and it's going to be a good opportunity for me in Colorado, and we're making a playoff push. I look for some good ice time and just putting the puck into the net.

This ability to take the punches as they come and make the most of them is at the heart of who Jamie McGinn is. He makes no excuses. He takes no short cuts. He puts it all out there all the time, seizing the opportunities that come his way. It's these aspects to his character that have made him a regular fixture in the NHL.

Jamie McGinn's love for hockey was definitely helped along by his parents. His dad, a lifelong Maple Leafs fan, and his mom strapped skates on a two-year-old McGinn and then created an ice rink in their backyard every winter. The rest is history.

At 15, McGinn played for the Toronto Junior Canadiens Minor Midget AAA team where he recorded 48 points in 31 games. The OHL's Ottawa 67's took notice and drafted him 50th overall in the 2004 Priority Draft. He had a successful rookie season, putting up 22 regular season points (10g, 12a) and 11 post-season points (4g, 7a), helping his team make it to the finals. The 67's suffered a major blow as McGinn went out with an injury in Game 2, causing him to miss the remainder of the playoffs. The team lost the next 3 games.

The young forward followed up his freshman campaign with impressive performances over the next three years. During his sophomore season, he played for Canada in the WJC U-18, contributing with one goal and three helpers. His best year with the 67's came in 2006-2007 when the 18-year-old maintained a 1.3 PPG pace by scoring 46 goals and 43 assists for 89 points in 68 games. He continued that pace through the playoffs, but the team lost in the second round.

Despite the fact he was coming off an injury, the San Jose Sharks—who had drafted him in the second round (36th overall) of the 2006 Entry Draft—assigned him to their AHL affiliate Worcester Sharks for four regular season (1g, 1a) and six post-season (0g, 0a) games. He returned to Worcester the following season, tallying 2 assists in 8 games.

In the summer of 2008, Jamie finally had to face the realities of a genetic condition that affects his back. The intensity of the OHL caught up with him, causing the pain to be unbearable. He struggled with even the simplest of tasks and had trouble sleeping. He sought out treatment, and with the aid of cortisone shots and rehab, he was able to return to skating towards the end of summer. "I had a lot to prove to San Jose," he said. "I felt I owed them a lot. I'm the kind of guy who doesn't want to disappoint."

The 6'1" 200 lb. twenty-year-old started the 2008-2009 season with the AHL Sharks. However, in less than three weeks he was already seeing time in the NHL. His debut came on October 28, 2008, against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Just two days later, in his second NHL game, he scored his first NHL goal against the Detroit Red Wings. McGinn spent a lot of time in San Jose over that season, but it didn't happen all at once. He was recalled and subsequently reassigned ten times over the year, culminating in 35 games in the NHL (2g, 4a) and 47 games in the AHL (19g, 11a). Although he didn't suit up for the playoffs, McGinn was there to watch a heartbreaking first-round loss to the Anaheim Ducks. He wasn't able to mourn the loss long, though, as he was immediately shipped off to Boston to join his Worcester teammates in their bid for the Calder Cup. He scored 4 goals in 6 games; the Sharks were defeated in the second round.

McGinn spent the next two seasons splitting time between the NHL and AHL, continuing to bring his energy and versatility to both clubs. With Worcester, he was seeing top line minutes; in San Jose, it was third and fourth line minutes. Either way, though, he played his game—the same game he's played all along.

McGinn brings incredible energy to just about every shift, and is one of those players with the ability to turn the momentum of a game around. He cycles the puck really well which is important in today’s game.

On June 30, 2011, the Sharks re-signed McGinn to a one-year, $680,000 contract. He once said that he didn't "want to be an average player. (He wants) to be an impact player." The 2011-2012 season saw him making more of an impact than he had previously, so much so that spending any more time in the AHL seemed improbable. Prior to the trade, he was on a career pace of 12 goals and 12 assists in 61 games playing primarily on the third line.

Once he arrived in Colorado, however, his performance dictated that he play a top-six role on the young team. Since his Avalanche debut, he has scored four goals—two of which were game-winners—and two assists. More than that, though, he has brought an edge to the team that makes it a bigger threat than it was before he put on the burgundy and blue sweater. He plays hard, he goes to the tough areas, and he makes his linemates better. Shortly after the trade, McGinn commented on what he hoped to accomplish with his new team.

"I think anyone in the league wants to be a goal scorer, but I try to keep my mind-set on doing the small things and being physical, and I think that's when the goals come. I have to be physical, but I want to be relied on, I want to be leaned on, and score some goals for the Avalanche. I think I can do that."

That you have done, Mr. McGinn. That and more.

References:

http://www.fantasysportspost.com/player.php?playerid=113521&sportid=2

http://www.torontojrcanadiens.ca/images/ohl%20draft%20master.pdf

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/7902/ten_ohl_players_to_watch_for_the2006_nhl_entry_draft/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worcester_Sharks

http://www.fearthefin.com/2010/2/22/1322422/fireside-chats-jamie-mcginn

http://www.csnbayarea.com/blog/sharks-talk/post/Exclusive-1-on-1-with-Jamie-McGinn?blockID=659128

http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/m/mcginja01.html

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/7841/qa_with2006_prospect_jamie_mcginn/

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/prospect/jamie_mcginn

http://forecaster.thehockeynews.com/hockeynews/hockey/player.cgi?5719

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=9336

http://sharks.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=475736

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_McGinn

http://www.denverpost.com/avalanche/ci_20062032

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