Ryan McLeod may not be slated to be a top-10 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft, but there are very few players—if any—like him available in the first round.
He’s a big centre who skates like the wind, and he’s proven that he can be a big-time point producer and a clutch player.
With a September 21 birthday, McLeod was just days away from being eligible for last year’s draft. He’ll step to the stage in Dallas with three OHL seasons under his belt, which makes him that much closer to being a finished product.
Here’s what you need to know about the brother of New Jersey Devils prospect Michael McLeod.
Team: Mississauga Steelheads, OHL
From: Mississauga, Ont.
Weight: 200 pounds
COOL UNDER PRESSURE
Being able to perform under the gun is one of the most important attributes a player can have and McLeod has proven capable of it on a few occasions already.
McLeod put up 20 points in 20 playoff games in his sophomore season with the Steelheads as they took a run to the OHL Final in 2016-17, and stepped up with 50 points in the first 40 games of this past season while brother/teammate Michael was sidelined by injury and high-scoring right winger Owen Tippett was up with the Florida Panthers.
McLeod has shown he won’t shy away from the spotlight.
IT’S IN THE BLOOD
Michael was drafted 12th overall by the Devils in 2016 and Ryan is projected by most to fall between 10 and 25 in this year’s draft. There’s an older brother, too: 21-year-old Matthew is coming into his senior year at Canisius College, where he’s been a key player in their Division I hockey program.
Ryan and Michael obviously drew inspiration from Matthew, and the close proximity in age of the youngest two has made them teammates on occasion since they were youngsters.
“I remember one game playing up with him with the [GTHL’s Toronto] Marlies against the Jr. Canadiens in the finals, he scored a hat trick and I had two assists,” Ryan McLeod told Mississaugasteelheads.com of a memory playing with Michael. “Playing with him [now], it’s really special. We can say whatever we want to each other and it really helps with our chemistry on the ice.”
CLOSE WITH THE STROMES
The McLeod brothers grew up with Matt (Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL), Ryan (New York Islanders) and Dylan Strome (Arizona Coyotes).
“To say the families are close is an understatement,” wrote Jane Gerster in the Toronto Star in January of 2014. “They are intertwined to the extent that the six boys have been occasional teammates, long-time classmates, driveway shinny partners, unofficial coaches and constant best friends.”
At the competitive level, both Mike and Ryan McLeod played Midget ‘AAA’ alongside Matthew Strome with the Toronto Marlboros.
If you want to play centre in the NHL, you have to be capable of playing at both ends of the rink.
McLeod has shown he gets it. He also has the skill to become a top-two centre down the road.
Ryan McLeod (C – MISS, 2018 Draft-Eligible, NHLCS – NA #16) pic.twitter.com/zIPdmXTFyf
— Ian Fleming (@imfleming16) June 6, 2018
And McLeod competes.
“He doesn’t stop competing and he uses his strength to win space and possession of the puck,” say the folks at futureconsiderations.ca. “He’s effective defensively and works hard at both ends. He knows what his responsibilities are and how to fulfill his duties in his own zone. He has upside as a top-six, two-way NHL centre.”