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Patrick McNally’s goals in his second professional season were simple. Earn the trust of the coaches and get in the lineup every night.
Through 32 games, it is clear the former Harvard defenseman has accomplished that and a lot more in year two. McNally has been arguably San Jose’s most versatile defender. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound blueliner has played with four different defensive partners, more than any other Barracuda defenseman.
McNally has six points (1+5=6), ten penalty minutes and a plus-one rating in 32 games, but his contributions on the backend can’t be measured in stats. His ability to skate and carry the puck has assisted the goalies and forwards. Despite both Tim Heed and Mirco Mueller spending time in the NHL, and Julius Bergman being held out for a pair of games with an injury, McNally has continued to be a staple of constancy on the blue line.
“With Pat, it was all about confidence,” said Barracuda Goaltender Troy Grosenick. “He’s been using his skill set, he’s been using his speed, and he can create on the rush. He doesn’t put himself in awkward positions, and he uses his long reach. He has been great for us.”
The San Jose Sharks acquired McNally in a draft-day trade with the Vancouver Canucks in 2015 after McNally was selected in the fourth round (#115 overall) by Vancouver in 2010.
The 25-year-old from Glen Head, New York, played both the left and right side in his rookie season last year and only cracked the lineup 35 times, collecting three points (1+2=3), 17 penalty minus and a plus-nine rating.
“He’s probably got the best stick on the back end, in terms of breaking up plays,” said Barracuda Head Coach Roy Sommer. “We’ve had a shortage of right-handed defenseman, and he is a guy that can play either side, which is huge, and he’s just playing with so much more confidence this season.”
The Barracuda are fourth in the league in goal differential and lead the league with seven shutouts, and McNally has played a large roll in that success.
“I’ve tried to be conscious of my decision making out there, and I’ve really limited my mistakes this season,” said McNally. “I’ve relied on my ability to skate and I've just tried to get the puck to our skilled forwards.”
When McNally was acquired by San Jose in 2015, he was just happy to be in a place that wanted him. And in his second year within the Sharks organization, he is proving that acquisition was a perfect fit for both parties.