Vancouver Canucks 2016 NHL Draft Profile: C Michael McLeod

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Unfortunately, the 2015-16 season was cut short for the Vancouver Canucks, which means we have a long offseason ahead of us. Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the time to prepare next season’s roster, and the 2016 NHL Entry Draft will certainly play an important part in that process.

Vancouver started off strong in the fall of 2015 but ended the season with a thud. Thanks to their abysmal 28th rank in the league standings, the Canucks own seven picks early in each round. Benning did a great job in his first two years at the job and another successful draft could certainly help boost the rebuild.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming event by profiling as many draft-eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

Under the microscope today is center Michael McLeod, from the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League.

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Name: Michael McLeod

Position: C

Shoots: Right

Height, weight: 6’2”, 185 lbs

Team/League: Mississauga Steelheads, OHL

Stats (from







NHL CSS Ranking: 13th (North American Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2.5/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: Second-Line Center

Draft Range: Top 15

Scouting report

"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. (Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects 2015)"


Michael McLeod has been hailed as one of the best skaters in the 2016 NHL Draft. Strong and agile on his skates, he can reach top speed far too quickly for defenders to contain him. McLeod wants the puck, and when he doesn’t have it, his superior skating ability enables him to chase it down; once he does have the puck, his instincts are to take the puck to the net by the straightest path he can find.

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Not only is he fast, but McLeod has a large, sturdy frame which make him a highly valuable power forward. He uses his body effectively to shield the puck in the offensive zone. When speed alone will not suffice, Michael McLeod has the strength to create his own room on the ice.

For all that, McLeod is far from selfish. He makes accurate passes off the rush, and not only hits his teammates in stride with those passes, but often hits them in prime shooting positions, leading to easy goals.

Whether passing, stickhandling or shooting, McLeod displays great hands. His vision on the ice, likewise, borders on sublime.

Finally, Michael McLeod draws praise from scouts for his determination and leadership. Not one to succumb to pressure, McLeod is willing to carry his team on his back when it counts.

All-in-all, McLeod is a strong-skating power forward with top offensive talent, great hockey sense, and a strong desire to succeed.


While McLeod’s toolbox is well-stocked, his skating stands out as his greatest asset. There is every reason to suspect the rest of his talents will catch up, but for now, McLeod’s head and hands need to catch up with his feet.

As with all 18-year-old players, McLeod has not finished growing. He should continue to get bigger and stronger; this, in turn, should help improve his wrist shot, which McLeod can release quickly but without much power.

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Like all his peers, his defensive skill needs some improvement. This, however, is not a lack of talent but simply a need to learn, and McLeod has already shown growth in this area from his younger days.

Finally, though McLeod plays the game the right way and brings a consistent effort, his production sometimes lacks the same consistency. He underperformed offensively in recent Under-18 tournaments, and his offense can be streaky with his OHL team. As a result of this, McLeod has fallen in many draft rankings in the last few months, less because of outright poor play from McLeod but more because other offensive talents were outstripping his production.

If McLeod can put up points with greater consistency, he should become a potent force in the NHL.

Final Thoughts

Ranking Michael McLeod in this year’s draft class seems to be a difficult task for scouts. McKeen’s pegged him as high as a second-overall pick back in December. Most recent lists have him somewhere between 10th and 15th, but some have him as a late first rounder.

From the Vancouver Canucks’ perspective, is Michael McLeod a viable option at No. 5? It is hard to imagine, but if they were to take a flyer on McLeod, it seems they would have at least some NHL scouts backing their choice.

But this is probably fanciful; in reality, there are too many good skaters ahead of McLeod to justify him. There is a chance, though, that he could become an option with a second, later first-round pick the Canucks could acquire via trade.

Next: NHL Draft Profile Overview

If so, Jim Benning might be able to use his second-round pick plus a little extra in form of more draft picks or a prospect to take this powerful player with some clear talent with the puck.

Michael McLeod’s fate at the draft will be intriguing to watch.