Landing in the 19th spot of the 2018 draft class is playmaking centre, Ryan McLeod.
At the junior level, McLeod has shown signs of being an effective two-way player that keeps is play tidy in the defensive zone while being a creative play-maker on the attack.
He does feel like a player that hasn’t reached his ceiling yet and will round out his game even further as he develops. McLeod doesn’t blow you away with skillful plays that jump off the page but is subtly skilled with and without the puck.
With that in mind, let’s dive in and take a look at his game.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.99/ September 21, 1999
- Birthplace: Mississauga ON Canada
- Frame:6-foot-2/ 190 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Mississauga Steelheads(OHL)
- OHL Cup Champion
- GTHL Player of the Year
- GTMMHL Scotiabank Playoff Champion
- OHL Cup Champion
- OHL Cup MVP
- OHL Gold Cup Champion
- Toronto Marlboros’ Buck Houle Award
- U17 WHC Gold Medal
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McLeod was selected with the third overall pick by the Flint Firebirds in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection draft. He was moved to the Steelheads after he made it clear that he wasn’t going to report to the Firebirds. Flint was able to recoup a boatload of draft picks for a player that wasn’t going to come and then received picks through the compensation rules set forth by the OHL.
Adjusted Scoring (SEAL)
Generally, he produced positive results in terms of GF% WOWY with some good signs. When adding that to his GFREL% of +8.3% and it looks even better.
35% of his cohorts went onto becoming NHL regulars and has seen a steady rise in that success rate since making his debut in the OHL during his draft minus two season.
McLeod is a fantastic skater that sees him skate low in his stance with strong and long strides that allow him to generate speed quickly though his powerful legs. He has soft hands with the puck when in stride and in a standstill, with the ability to thread passes extremely well. He combines all that with great vision and anticipation to find gaps in his opponent’s coverage.
His has a great snapshot that can beat the goalie clean or that he uses to create rebounds. Since he has such a high-level hockey IQ, he constantly has his head up and is intentionally making those plays. It’s not simply a ‘throw the puck’ at the net and hope for the best, you can see that he recognizes what to do and does it.
The Steelheads forward is a skilled player that is a constant threat with the puck because he can create in a variety of ways.
There are two sides on his defensive zone play – some suggest that he lacks in this area and others say that he is really good in his defensive zone. Ultimately, he is likely somewhere in the middle. At times, he can chase the puck and get himself out of position and then a few shifts later, he will make a great read and take the puck out of the zone with ease. Like so many draft-eligible players, it’s a work in progress but it’s something that does stand out about his game as being better than his peers. He is smart, patient and effective in eliminating offensive chances against and then makes good plays to get the puck out.
McLeod does need to be more assertive in his play in the offensive zone and with his shot – he is a big bodied centre with excellent vision and an underrated release. To be more effective, he needs to be willing to take those couple of strides forward and attack. It will force his opponents to retreat and thus create more chances for him.
The Mississauga born centre has a high-end potential, if he can put it all together, and does likely have a high floor as a prospect as well. There is little risk in him being a player but he needs to refine everything and dictate what happens on the ice a little more to take that next step forward.
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From Future Considerations:
A complete two-way centerman, he’s got wheels. He moves in a low skating stance that generates an powerfully electric strides, with silky smooth crossovers. Even with his skates, he can control the puck. Quick feet and, even with the puck, he can maintain momentum. Soft hands make his work on offense look effortless. His release is lightning quick and, even if he doesn’t capitalize, the snappy shots create rebounds galore for his linemates. McLeod also uses little saucer passes to open up lanes. Great vision and playmaking abilities. It added up to 70 points, including 26 goals, for Mississauga this past season. Defensively, McLeod is excellent – he can check diligently and he is reliable. He focuses on getting sticks in passing lanes for deflection. He’s also good at challenging at the point, eliminating time and space from enemy shooters. He takes away a lot of pucks, thanks to his high level of compete. He can make plays, with and without the puck, in all three zones. He’s very good at supporting the play. The young man also displays considerable leadership skills. He’s not shy about letting his defensemen know where to go with the puck on the power play. He owns a great hockey IQ, and adds plenty of hustle. According to scouts, he’s destined to be a high-end pick, with lots of all-round upside.
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CanucksArmy’s 2018 NHL Draft Rankings