Weight: 187 pounds
Date of birth: February 3, 1998. Mississauga, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 1, 5th overall, 2014 Priority Selection
Prior to arriving in the OHL, Michael McLeod has had no problem with scoring, scoring and then adding more scoring. Not that he’s having a problem in Major Junior; he’s just become a complete two way player.
McLeod played his Bantam hockey for the Toronto Marlboros in 2012-13. There he appeared in 22 games and scored 40 goals and 55 assists for 95 points. The following season he played Minor Midget AAA for the Marlboros and scored 21 goals and 36 assists in 33 games.
Last season, McLeod’s rookie OHL season he scored 12 goals and 17 assists in 63 games. His 29 points were good enough for 18th in rookie scoring. He also played for Team Canada Red at the World Hockey Challenge U17 (5GO 0G 1A) and Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial (4GP 1G 1A).
McLeod has impressive list of winning: OHL Cup Champion (named MVP), OHL Gold Cup silver medalist and Hlinka Memorial gold medal.
I think McLeod’s ceiling is a two-way second line center that will be strong defensively and put up some points. He’s excellent in the faceoff circle and currently has a 60.9% winning percentage on the dot – tops in the OHL. He knows his role on the defensive side of the game and is rarely caught out of position. He comes back hard on the back check.
McLeod is a superb skater with high end acceleration and top speed. Accompanied by his excellent puck handling abilities and vision he can do everything from rush end to end or make tape to tape accurate passes. His 7 goals on 74 shots puts him at a 9.5% shooting percentage. He’s elusive and can escape coverage.
McLeod is a tenacious forechecker. Not only does his skating allow him to get on top of defenders, but his anticipation and relentless work ethic causes turnovers. He has a strong will to drive to the net with or without the puck. At 6’2” he has size and doesn’t shy away from physicality.
McLeod also has strong leadership skills. This season he was named captain of the Steelheads. In 2013-14 he was named the Marlboro’s winner of the Buck Houle Award – Presented annually in recognition of outstanding on ice performance, leadership and loyalty, in the Minor Bantam through Midget age groups.
Some want to see a more consistent effort from McLeod. As a rookie last season one could make that argument. This season however, the question has been asked and he’s answered it with flying colors.
At the NHL level, McLeod may not put up the points of his top 5 fellow draft cousins, but he is exactly the type of centerman every NHL team covets.