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Ryan McLeod‘s rights were quickly traded to the Mississauga Steelheads. There he joined became teammates with his older brother. Michael McLeod would go on to be drafted in the first round by the New Jersey Devils in 2016.
The younger McLeod put up 42 points in 68 games for the Mississauga Steelheads last year. However, he took a real leap forward with 20 points in 20 playoff games. When this season began, Michael was recovering from an injury suffered at Devils training camp. Star right wing Owen Tippett was up with the Florida Panthers. Ryan McLeod suddenly found himself as a go-to player for Mississauga. He excelled in the role getting off to a strong start to the season with 50 points in his first 40 games. When the older players returned, McLeod settled into a second line role. Overall, he put up 26 goals and 70 points in 68 games. He added two goals and five points in six playoff games, but the Steelheads fell to the heavily favoured Barrie Colts in the first round.
Ryan McLeod Scouting Report
Center — shoots Left
Born September 21st, 1999 — Mississauga, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 200 lbs [188 cm / 91 kg]
McLeod is an outstanding skater and this helps him to be a very good two-way player. He is one of the fastest players in the OHL. He has a long and powerful stride, and gets up to top speed with excellent acceleration. McLeod has outstanding edgework and agility. He can change directions on a dime. This ability to make quick cuts can drive defenders nuts. His speed and ability to close space quickly also helps him defensively. McLeod has the power to fight through checks and still get to the front of the net. He has excellent balance, and wins battles along the boards and establishing position in front of the net.
McLeod also has very good vision and passing skills. He can create off the rush, using his speed and stickhandling ability to get past defenders. He can make quick cuts to beat them or take them wide off the rush. McLeod uses his ability to change the pace as a weapon, beating defenders by quickly accelerating or creating lanes by slowing down. This skating helps him to make plays as a quick move creates space to get a pass through. Working down low, he can also control the puck, slow down the play and set-up plays when his teammates get open.
McLeod is much more of a playmaker than a scorer. While he has improved this season and begun to take more shots, he is very much a pass-first player. McLeod has a decent wrist shot but it is not overpowering. However, it is very accurate and features a quick release. His slap shot needs some work. McLeod has a decent snapshot as well.
Despite being just 18, McLeod is a key man on the penalty kill. His line is also matched up against the other team’s top line on a regular basis. McLeod’s skating helps him to get to loose pucks, to cut down an opponents space, or to anticipate passes and create turnovers. Once a turnover is created, he is able to quickly transition to offence. McLeod reads the play well. He cuts down passing lanes with an active stick, and is not afraid to block shots. Overall this is very advanced for his age.
Projection and Comparison
With continued development, McLeod could become a two-way middle-six centre in the NHL. The question here is the upside. It is doubtful that he has enough offensive tools to centre a top line. However, he could fit in nicely on a second line, providing secondary offence and matching the other teams top line. As a late birthdate player, expect him to spend one more year in junior and then move on to the NHL In terms of style, his game is reminiscent of Ryan Kesler, but without the great shot.
The following is a compilation of some of the many highlight packages of McLeod that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
ST CATHARINES, ON – NOVEMBER 25: Ryan McLeod #91 of the Mississauga Steelheads skates during an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs at the Meridian Centre on November 25, 2017, in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images Sport)