Scoring Line’s prospect profiles kick off with Michael McLeod. The Mississauga Steelheads center had a very solid year this year, playing with another highly regarded prospect in Alex Nylander. The duo lead a pretty average Steelheads team to the playoffs, where they would lose to the favored Barrie Colts in 7 games. McLeod was one of Mississauga’s best players this year, and was one of two players to put up more than 60 points. Let’s learn more about the potential 11th overall pick.
From: Mississauga, ON, Canada
Weight: 185 lbs
The rankings provided are the most recent rankings at the time of this writing.
ISS Hockey: 9th
Craig Button: 15th
The Draft Analyst: 10th
Future Considerations: 11th
Bob McKenzie: 15th
Draft Buzz: 13th
McKeen’s Hockey: 3rd
NHL Central Scouting: 13th (NA Skaters)
McLeod is ranked anywhere from 3rd to 15th. His average ranking is 11th, which is where the Devils will be picking. Each team will have different draft boards and player rankings, so it’s hard to tell where McLeod will fall, but there’s a very good possibility he will be there when the Devils make their selection.
As you can see, McLeod has put up decent offensive numbers throughout his career. You want to draft someone who consistently puts up good offensive numbers, and McLeod fits that bill. His 20 goals and 40 assists in 57 games put him at a 1.07 PPG, which was good for second on the Steelheads. One thing to remember is that he played for a Steelheads team that only had three players break 20 goals and 50 points. McLeod might not have put up eye-popping numbers, but he produced at over a point per game for a team that only had two players do so. His playoff numbers were impressive as well, putting up 9 points in 7 games against a very good Barrie team.
McLeod also has some international experience, representing Team Canada Red at the U17 World Hockey Challenge Tournament, and Team Canada at the U18 World Championship and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. His best international tournament so far was the U18 World Championship, where he put up 4 points in 7 games. His numbers with Team Canada haven’t been amazing, but he still put up points.
The first quote I want to look at is from Steve Kournianos from The Draft Analyst (thedraftanalyst.com). Steve says:
“McLeod is an exciting two-way player with leadership qualities who happens to be one of the best skaters available for the coming NHL draft. He has one-step acceleration which helps him keep defenders off balance once the puck ends up on his stick. From that point forward, it’s off to the races, as McLeod combines his speed with keen vision to not only identify others for an option or two, but create one for himself. The best word to describe McLeod’s game is rapid — everything he does is with effort and a sense of urgency.”
The first thing that stands out is Steve calling McLeod an exciting two-way player. The Devils are the type of team that loves players who play a two-way game. The next thing I want to focus on is McLeod’s speed. I love the fact that McLeod uses his speed and vision to create options for his teammates and himself. Combine that with his two-way play and you have a player that the Devils will certainly be interested in. Steve also talks about how McLeod plays with effort and urgency, something any team would want out of a player. You can read all of Steve’s scouting report here.
Curtis Joe of Elite Prospects had this to say about McLeod back in 2015:
“Michael McLeod is a highly skilled power center that relies on nobody but himself to get the job done. His size and skating make him difficult to contain, and his competitiveness gives him an edge against other teams’ best. His deft puckhandling skills and control over his speed are the defining aspects of his offensive abilities. All-in-all, a top talent that is both dynamic and hard to play against.”
Future Considerations had this to say about McLeod back in November of 2015:
“McLeod has an excellent skating stride which includes several different gears and the ability to instantly change speed to shoot through holes in the defense. He is defensibly responsible and plays the game from goal light to goal light. Has a very high compete level, plays physical and will do whatever is required to help his team. Creates plenty of chances off the rush using his speed and willingness to take the puck to the net. Strong in the faceoff circle and has some leadership qualities NHL teams will like.”
Both of these quotes emphasis what Steve said about McLeod. He is a great skater and can use his speed and size to create chances. Elite Prospects and Future Considerations mention his compete level in one way or another. Having a player who compete night in and night out will be an important trait teams look at.
One negative about his game is that he doesn’t finish as much as he should for someone who creates these chances. Steve mentioned that, saying:
“McLeod generates a ton of shots towards the cage without the kind of finish you’d like to see from a high-end scoring forward.”
Scoring Line’s Opinion
While he wouldn’t be my first choice at 11, I wouldn’t be upset if the Devils selected McLeod. It would depend on who is available still when the Devils pick. I like how everyone mentions his compete level and speed. He is also a big kid already, and if he can add onto the big frame, his speed and size can be an advantage at the NHL level. It’s a bit concerning that he has some trouble finishing, but the rest of his game is something that I think the Devils would benefit from. I also like that he creates chances for his team, and while that wouldn’t impact the Devils immediately, it’s something they would benefit from in the future.
(Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)