Nation Network Prospect Profile: #14 Michael McLeod

18 year old Michael McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads checks in at #14 in our Nation Network draft rankings. The centre is the epitome of a playmaker, amassing 40 assists and 21 goals in 57 games. McLeod has been playing on and off with Alex Nylander, another future first round draft pick.

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Lets take a look at what McLeod brings to the table.


  • Age: 18, 1998-02-03
  • Birthplace: Mississauga, ON, Canada
  • Frame: 6’2″ 185 lbs.
  • Position: C
  • Handedness: R
  • Draft Year Team: Mississauga Steelheads
  • Accomplishments/Awards: CHL Top Prospects Game 15/16, Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal 15/16, OHL Cup Champion 13/14, OHL Cup MVP 13/14, OHL Gold Cup Silver Medal 13/14


49   23 46.94   0.5673 0.2663


NHL CSS ISS Future Considerations Hockey Prospect McKeen’s Button
13 (NA) 13 11 11 3 15

Curtis Joe said this about McLeod at Elite Prospects:

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Michael McLeod is a highly skilled power center that relies on nobody but himself to get the job done. His size and skating make him difficult to contain, and his competitiveness gives him an edge against other teams’ best. His deft puckhandling skills and control over his speed are the defining aspects of his offensive abilities. All-in-all, a top talent that is both dynamic and hard to play against.

From The Draft Analyst:

McLeod is an exciting two-way player with leadership qualities who happens to be one of the best skaters available for the coming NHL draft. He has one-step acceleration which helps him keep defenders off balance once the puck ends up on his stick. From that point forward, it’s off to the races, as McLeod combines his speed with keen vision to not only identify others for an option or two, but create one for himself. The best word to describe McLeod’s game is rapid — everything he does is with effort and a sense of urgency. What separates McLeod from the lot of draft-eligible speedsters is that he has the size, strength and puck-control skills to go along with it. He’s an excellent passer either up the ice or diagonally in the offensive zone, and his ability to thread the needle while moving his feet can force opponents to cheat towards the pass. This creates a parting of the seas, and many times you’ll see McLeod zoom into a massive opening for a scoring chance of his own. Therein lies the rub, however, as McLeod generates a ton of shots towards the cage without the kind of finish you’d like to see from a high-end scoring forward. Nevertheless, he’s a pure center with good faceoff skills and a relentless desire to succeed. There’s no quit in McLeod; something many of his peers are clearly lacking.

Future Considerations:

McLeod has an excellent skating stride which includes several different gears and the ability to instantly change speed to shoot through holes in the defense. He is defensibly responsible and plays the game from goal light to goal light. Has a very high compete level, plays physical and will do whatever is required to help his team. Creates plenty of chances off the rush using his speed and willingness to take the puck to the net. Strong in the faceoff circle and has some leadership qualities NHL teams will like.

Our Take

Michael McLeod will make a team in the mid first round very happy. He is a playmaker by trade and this is evidenced by the 40 assists he had in the 15/16 OHL regular season.

What makes McLeod such an intriguing prospect is his ability to make high skill plays at speed. He can make passes in any direction to properly set up his teammates for scoring plays or to get the puck out of his defensive zone.

McLeod is defensively reliable and which will endear him to teams looking for a centre with the ability to make an impact shortly after he is drafted. 

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What has some scouts worried, and this may be why McLeod is not ranked as high, is he has not shown a strong ability to score goals. As mentioned above, his inability to finish has some scouts worried.

However, a player like Henrik Sedin has flourished by being an excellent passer and is most definitely not known for his goal scoring touch.

A player McLeod has been compared to is Ryan O’Reilly. O’Reilly is known for his two-way play and his work ethic. If McCleod can develop into a Ryan O’Reilly style of player, then teams will be extremely happy with their pick.

pGPS% has McLeod making the NHL at 46.94%. 23 players with similar junior statistics have made the jump to the NHL. So, based off of the pGPS, Michael McLeod making the jump to the NHL is not a slam dunk.

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So, this begs the question, do the Wild, Red Wings or Bruins choose Michael McLeod as their first round draft choice in the 2016 draft? 

Nation Network Draft Profiles

Prospect Profile #15 Logan Brown (C)
Prospect Profile #16: Julien Gauthier Prospect Profiles #17: Dante Fabbro
Prospect Profile #18: Charlie McAvoy (D) Prospect Profiles #19: Luke Kunin (C)
Prospect Profile #20: Alex Debrincat (C/LW) Prospect Profiles #21: Vitali Abramov (RW)
Prospect Profile #22: Max Jones (W/C) Prospect Profiles #23: Pascal Laberge (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #24: Tage Thompson (C/RW) Prospect Profile #25: German Rubtsov (C)
Prospect Profile #26: Samuel Girard (D) Prospect Profile #27: Rasmus Asplund (C/LW)
Prospect Profile #28: Will Bitten (C) Prospect Profile #29: Tyler Benson (LW)
Prospect Profile #30: Carl Grundstrom (LW) Prospect Profiles #60 – #31 (2nd Round)

  • wojohowitz

    I can’t lie, my interest in the prospect rankings went downhill after the Canucks traded their 2nd round pick. However I do think these are an invaluable resource and I’m looking forward to logging on every day and getting a better handle on the draft.

    Thank you very much for compiling this list and providing it to us every morning, it adds a lot of daily intrigue into how the draft is going to unfold.

    • wojohowitz

      I agree, Gino. The 33rd pick gave me hope that a projected first rounder, say 20-30, would slip and JB would add a fine prospect. Now, after the 5th pick I the draft is nothing.

  • wojohowitz

    It’s interesting that you’ve calculated that Brown has an 80% pGPS, but McLeod has 46%.

    How much are you relying on your own fancy stats to guide your rankings?

  • wojohowitz

    Nice write-up. You forgot to make note of his dominance on the face-off dot–I’ve heard numbers in the 60%+ range attributed to McLeod. It certainly adds another item for discussion in the trade-down vs. ‘need a 1C to replace Hank’ debate. Between Brown and McLeod, we could trade down to #9 & still have a puncher’s chance at the 1C everyone thinks we need to draft right now, today. And in a couple years, he’ll add some muscle to his frame, and we’ll have a legit big-body 1C who can win face-offs and set up plays.

  • I suppose Howden is a good 2nd pick. That whole team looks pretty good. Gregor is greatly improved. Halbgewach is worth a later pick. They have a 16 yr old D who will be a high pick next year.
    A rule change I like is to make part of the skates and shin pads a bankable surface for more 1993 Gretzky goals. Shot blocking has gone way up so you need to be bigger to get closer shots. I don’t see a curved cross bar any time soon. The next best way to increasing offence appears purposeful bank shots. To be avoided is the shot coming right back to the shooter. If D are afraid to take slapshots it will turn into a rugby scrum and there will be lots of alligator games.
    It is hard to watch baseball after thinking of an improvement. If you don’t allow a 1st base leadoff and you make the first out be at first base, you get rundowns. If you cancel the out if he makes a base, you have an athletic sport and good health role models.
    For Olympics and American football, perhaps the American field can be turned sideways in the red zone and an extra player or two added. I like the receiver routes that evolve over the play. To me, sports is intellectual like war has been and like preventing robots and pandemics and nuke wars is. Wpg has the best primary education on Earth; even with the sinful curriculum.

  • BR(j)ED

    Knowing that there are players in the draft like this, I’m comfortable if Lindenning chose to trade down.

    I haven’t been sold on Dubois or Tkachuck and there seems to be an exceedingly high amount of powerfully build centres in the top end of this draft. Depending on temperament and how much time we expect a player to develop within, I think we have a lot of options.

    Time to watch Jim do what he does best.