Weight: 205 pounds
Date of birth: September 21, 1999
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
OHL Draft: Round 1, 3rd overall, 2015 Priority Selection (Flint Firebirds)
NHL Central Scouting pre-season: A Prospect
NHL Central Scouting mid-term: 16th North American Skaters
NHL Central Scouting final rank: Not available at this time
Like brother, like brother……?
Like it or not, Mississauga Steelheads forward Ryan McLeod will be forever linked to teammate and older brother Michael, who was the twelfth overall selection of the New Jersey Devils at the 2016 National Hockey League Draft.
But before we get into any similarities (or differences), here is a little history.
The 2014-2015 season was a busy one for McLeod. He played his Minor Midget hockey with the Toronto Marlboros that season amassing 30 goals and 51 assists in 74 games and was a leader on that squad, as evidenced by the A sewn on his jersey. He helped the Marlboros win the OHL Cup that year scoring 3 goals and 4 assists in 7 games and was named the OHL Cup Most Valuable Player.
That wasn’t McLeod’s first taste in the OHL Cup. While playing Bantam in 2013-2014, he got into two games with the Marlboros and then onto the OHL Cup, winning it for the first time.
Back to 2014-2015. McLeod was named the GTHL Player of the Year after his performance with the Marlboros. Not only had he captured two OHL Cups to date, but he also won an OHL Gold Cup with the GTHL Team Blue while contributing a goal and two assists in 5 games.
The Flint Firebirds would select McLeod with the third overall pick at the 2015 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
OHL Central Scouting’s report at the time:
Ryan will remind you a lot of his older brother Michael, Mississauga’s first round pick from last year. He is an effortless skater that can beat a defender as if he were standing still. Ryan has the ability to slow the game down when he needs to. He is a playmaker first, always looking to set up his teammates. Ryan is a force offensively each time he is on the ice. He uses his skating and speed to separate himself from the rest of the players. He is arguably one of the top 5 forwards in the country in his age group.
The Steelheads were all set to select McLeod with the fourth overall pick, but the Firebirds pounced one pick earlier. The McLeod family made it abundantly clear that Ryan would not report to Flint and the door was open for General Manager James Boyd to work on a deal. The Firebirds were under a deadline of September 15 in order to receive compensatory picks, a first and second round pick, for top 5 picks who do not report. Boyd paid a huge price sending the Firebirds three second round picks and three third round picks.
And the rest as they say, is history.
McLeod would break onto the OHL scene during the 2015-2016 season with the Steelheads and score a respectful 7 goals and 13 assists in 62 games and add two more helpers in seven playoff games. He would add yet another championship to his resume, this time with Team Canada at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 where he had a lone assist in 6 games.
The 2016-2017 season saw McLeod enter his second Major Junior campaign, but there was no championship in the cards for McLeod this time around, even though the Steelheads were one of the early favorites. He scored 9 times while setting up 33 others while playing in all 68 games. But it was during the playoffs that McLeod was at his offensive best, putting up a point per game on 5 goals and 15 assists.
This season began with McLeod being on the winning side once again as Team Canada captured Gold at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial in August. While he was pointless in 4 games, he was still a champion once again in a tournament where you could almost guarantee gold for Canada every time.
While it’s been somewhat of a disappointing regular season for the Steelheads, McLeod has been a bright spot for the most part. With one game remaining on the season, his 67 points ranks third among the Steelheads behind only Nicolas Hague and Owen Tippett. His 43 assists put him atop the list of Steelheads while his 24 goals rank third. Not bad for a playmaker.
The younger McLeod has all the tools that his older brother possesses, although I would say Ryan doesn’t use his size like Michael does.
As OHL Central Scouting says in it’s report, McLeod is an excellent skater with jets on his blades. Tremendous speed, who works his edges extremely well and can turn on a dime, an ability to slow it down when he needs to but needs to work on combining that skating ability with his size and drive the net more frequently.
McLeod has excellent vision with superb playmaking abilities and has always been known as a playmaker first. However, he does possess a very good shot and has taken noticeable steps to use it more often this season – not passing up shooting opportunities. His shot total has gone up from 111 a season ago to 161 this season and it reflects on his increased goal production. He’s scoring at a 14.9% clip, up from 8.1%.
Offensively, McLeod is dangerous on the powerplay when he has room. He sees the ice so well and with excellent anticipation skills, sees plays develop and he’s excellent at setting up teammates for scoring opportunities. The evidence is in his 21 powerplay assists which leads the Steelheads and tied for sixth in the entire league.
Those same anticipation skills allow McLeod to play in any situation, including the penalty kill where his high hockey IQ combined with his skating and ability to close lanes show through. He often lines up against the other team’s top players as well. He continues to improve in the faceoff circle winning 736 of 1356 draws, good for 54.3% and will often take critical defensive zone draws.
Finding more consistency, especially during 5 on 5 play is an area that McLeod needs to work on, however, if he utilizes all the assets that he possesses, that should come to him. And that will be key to whether he projects as a top 6 forward at the National Hockey League level.
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