Arizona Coyotes ink Jack McBain to 2-year deal

Bill Armstrong has been watching Jack McBain since he was 16 years old. (Photo courtesy of the Arizona Coyotes)

The NHL’s trade deadline came and went, and the Arizona Coyotes were active.

Among a flurry of moves, the team traded for center Jack McBain from the Minnesota Wild for a 2022 second-round pick. McBain was originally drafted by the Wild in the third round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

The Coyotes held a press conference March 23 to announce the acquisition and signing of the contract.

“Today is a proud day for our organization to sign Jack McBain to a two-year deal,” general manager Bill Armstrong said. “We had to out-recruit the majority of NHL teams to persuade Jack, his family, his agent that we were the right organization for him.”

Armstrong has been watching McBain’s progression as a player and person since he was 16 years old. He believes the young center is the perfect fit for the Coyotes organization.

“The way that he plays is perfect for what we need as an organization,” Armstrong said. “He’s a power forward that can play a skilled role. He can jump in and can finish around the net.”

McBain has certainly kept himself busy over the last year. He opted to go back to school and play his senior season for Boston College and got the opportunity to represent Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The Olympics, he said, gave him a real opportunity to prove that his skill set would make the leap to the next level. He learned a lot during his time in Beijing.

“It was a great opportunity,” McBain said. “I mean, obviously a lot of ex-NHL players and guys that have already been at the level that I’ve been striving to get to, so being able to pick the brains of some of the guys in the locker room was pretty cool. It was just an all-around unique experience, and I’m glad I got to do it.”

During McBain’s time at Boston College, he registered 86 points in 117 career games and served as an alternate captain during his final two seasons with the school. He also got to play at Arizona State’s Oceanside Arena during his freshman season, for a short series. He mentioned the weather out here being something he could get used to.

“When I had the opportunity to meet with Bill and the whole staff here, it was pretty special, and right away after meeting with Arizona, I called my agent and I said, ‘Hey, I think that’s the spot,’” McBain said. “It was a great meeting, and I couldn’t be happier to be here.”

Armstrong said McBain has the innate ability to supply his teammates with instant confidence on the ice. He said McBain always made steady improvements in his game but that he really took his game up a notch this last year. He is greatly looking forward to seeing him don a Coyotes jersey.

“Every time I went to see him and check his stats at Boston College, he had gotten better and better,” Armstrong said. “I felt he put a lot of time and effort into his skating from the time he was 16, every year he’s gotten better, and this year he took a giant leap.”

Armstrong won’t get to see the newly acquired center on the ice immediately, however, as McBain is recovering from a “slight” ankle injury.

Getting onto the ice for the Coyotes this season is McBain’s “goal and intention.”

“Hopefully I’ll get back on the ice soon and try to get some games in,” he said. “That would be great, but just being around the guys in the locker room and trying to learn from them and develop with them, long term, just to keep my game progressing and keep moving.”

At the end of the day, McBain basically had his pick of the litter when it came to which team he was traded to, but he chose the Coyotes. He was impressed with the direction the organization is headed.

“There’s a goal in place here, down the road, in what they want to accomplish, and I feel it’s a great opportunity and a great fit to be a part of that,” McBain said.