Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Harvard senior defenseman Patrick McNally would not be granted a fifth year of eligibility by the NCAA, ending his college career. That gives the Vancouver Canucks, who drafted McNally in the 2010 NHL Draft, until August 15th to sign McNally before he becomes a free agent.
On Monday, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said that Canucks will not sign McNally, letting him walk to free agency.
Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun got some quotes from Benning:
Interesting tidbit from Benning: #Canucks will not sign D-man Patrick McNally, who just finished at Harvard. He was a 4th-rnd pick in 2010.— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) June 23, 2015
McNally becomes a free agent Aug. 15. Benning says #Canucks have other young offensive D-men like Subban and Hutton who are ahead of him.— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) June 23, 2015
Further McNally: Benning acknowledged concerns about McNally's defensive game. Also suffered a serious knee injury last season #Canucks— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) June 23, 2015
It's still a bit surprising to see Vancouver let a prospect as talented as McNally walk away for free, even if they feel they have some other options. McNally ranked 51st on our list of the Top 100 NHL prospects in the NCAA last season(while Ben Hutton, referenced above, who has already signed with Vancouver, was ranked 74th.) Assuming McNally's recovery from knee injury doesn't leave any lasting side effects, it wouldn't be a surprise to see another NHL team pick him up after the August deadline.