|Born||June 18, 1977
Coaldale, AB, CAN
|6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
230 lb (104 kg; 16 st 6 lb)
San Jose Sharks
|NHL Draft||9th overall, 1995
|Playing career||1995 – present|
McLaren was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the first round, ninth-overall, during the 1995 NHL Entry Draft. He played his first NHL season when he was just eighteen in the 1995–96 season, and was the youngest player on an NHL roster that year.
After a few years in Boston, McLaren got into a dispute with the Bruins' management. Reportedly, they offered McLaren a two-way contract, meaning that McLaren could be made to report to the minor league affiliate of the Bruins, the Providence Bruins of the AHL, where he would earn but a small fraction of his NHL salary. An established NHL player at that point, McLaren was insulted and demanded a trade.
In a three way deal, San Jose traded their 1999 first-round pick Jeff Jillson and goaltender Jeff Hackett, previously acquired from Montreal for Niklas Sundstrom and a third-round pick, to Boston for McLaren and a fourth-round selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
In recent years, McLaren has developed a reputation for having one of the best hip checks in the league. His most notable hip check was in the first round of the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs when he pinned St. Louis Blues winger Petr Cajanek into the boards near the Sharks' blue line. Cajanek would not play for the remainder of the series. Other memorable hip check recipients include Petr Prucha and Trevor Letowski.
During the 2003 season he was struck in the face by a slapshot from Vancouver’s Sami Salo and missed 6 games due to his injury. For the remainder of the season he played with a clear visor. He stopped wearing a visor until partway through his 2005 season, when he returned with a yellow tinted visor because its color helped prevent glare of the ice from affecting him. McLaren switched back to a clear one during the 2007–08 season, reportedly because his lucky visor was not helping change his ineffectiveness during San Jose playoff runs.
In 2006, McLaren signed a three-year contract worth US $7.5 million; the deal expired in June 2009. McLaren signed that deal citing how happy he was in San Jose and how much his family loved it there.
On October 7, 2008, McLaren was placed on waivers by San Jose Sharks' general manager Doug Wilson so that the team could accommodate the salaries of newly-acquired defencemen Brad Lukowich, Dan Boyle, and Rob Blake within the constraints of the NHL salary cap. He played the season for the Sharks' AHL affiliate Worcester Sharks; his salary did not affect the San Jose Sharks' salary cap as he remained in Worcester.
McLaren received an invitation to attend training camp with the New York Rangers for the 2009-10 season, but did not make the team.
In the 2002 playoffs, McLaren injured Richard Zednik of the Montreal Canadiens with an elbow to the face. This prompted many to condemn the violence of the hit, and Montreal fans became enraged at McLaren for what they perceived to be a use of unnecessary excessive force towards Zednik. The event created a dislike for the then Bruins defenceman that endures to this day. McLaren received a three-game suspension from the league.
|2002–03||San Jose Sharks||NHL||33||0||8||8||30||—||—||—||—||—|
|2003–04||San Jose Sharks||NHL||64||2||22||24||60||16||0||3||3||10|
|2005–06||San Jose Sharks||NHL||77||2||21||23||66||11||0||3||3||4|
|2006–07||San Jose Sharks||NHL||67||5||12||17||61||11||0||4||4||10|
|2007–08||San Jose Sharks||NHL||61||3||8||11||84||5||0||0||0||6|