Two years ago, the New Jersey devils drafted Michael McLeod 12th overall in the NHL Entry draft. This summer, it’s younger brother Ryan that is going to have his name called in the middle of the first round. Teammates with his brother in Mississauga, Ryan is a very similar player to Michael. He is a strong, quick, offensively dynamic player that projects to be a decent middle-6 center in the NHL.
Having missed last year’s draft by only a few days, Ryan will have three full OHL seasons under his belt by the time he is drafted. At 6’2 and nearly 200lbs, he already looks like a professional hockey player and could be closer to the NHL than a lot of his draft cohorts.
Ryan doesn’t have the same straightaway speed that makes his brothers one of the fasted prospects of the past few years, but his skating is still well above average. He is a very agile player, with the ability to move side-to-side quicker than most. McLeod is a puck-distributing center that will create his own offense only after looking for his linemates. His high end passing ability and great on-ice vision will help allows him to be the kind of playmaker that boosts the production of less talented wingers.
McLeod is a possession driver. He does his best work when the puck is on his stick. He has the ability and strength to maintain possession in traffic, as well as the speed to beat defenders on the outside. While his play away from the puck can still use work, McLeod’s ability to maintain possession allows for a greater potential for success on any given shift. This is evident through his 2.68 GF%rel. He is on the ice for a higher goal for percentage than his teammates, which is impressive given that he plays with high-end offensive players like his brother Michael and Owen Tippett.
He can play both left-wing and center, but his profile and skill set project McLeod to be a center in the NHL. He is a much more finished product than many of the players that will be drafted around him. For general managers that are more risk adverse, McLeod might be seen as a more ‘safe’ pick because we have a better grasp on his development curve thanks to his three full seasons of junior hockey.
Where does he fit in the first round?
According to Canucks Army consolidated rankings, as of January, McLeod placed 19th when you compile all the major scouting lists:
What the scouts say
McLeod is a big forward with offensive skills who also has a good two-way drive…good skater…not the fastest when moving north-south, but is quick and agile in short bursts and able to deceive opposition with quick changes of direction or pace…has decent hand-skill one-on-one and is able to dig pucks out of corners and get around opposing players with possession in tight spaces…protects the puck well with his body and likes to drive the net from the wing and does so by dropping his shoulder and leaning on defenders…a really tough player to stop when he uses his size and strength…dangerous in tight…illustrates good passing skill and the ability to set up linemates…great vision…has a decent shot that is most effective in and around the slot…has an endless motor and is hard to outwork…doesn’t stop competing and he uses his strength to win space and possession of the puck…effective defensively, and works hard at both ends…knows what his responsibilities are and how to fulfill his duties in his own zone…has upside as a top-six two-way NHL center. - Future Considerations
Uses his strong skating to attack and make things happen offensively. - Craig Button, TSN
Expected Draft Position: 15-25