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.
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
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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