2018 NHL draft prospect profile #24: Ryan McLeod

MISSISSAUGA, ON - NOVEMBER 15: Ryan McLeod #91 of the Mississauga Steelheads controls the puck against the Erie Otters on November 15, 2017 at Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) Steelheads defeated the Otters 5-4.
MISSISSAUGA, ON - NOVEMBER 15: Ryan McLeod #91 of the Mississauga Steelheads controls the puck against the Erie Otters on November 15, 2017 at Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images) Steelheads defeated the Otters 5-4. /

We return to the OHL for this edition of our 2018 NHL draft prospect profiles. Here comes the latest player from a Mississauga family, Ryan McLeod.

You know Don Cherry is going to love this player. He’s a good ol’ Ontario boy from Mississauga, playing for the local Steelheads team. Ryan McLeod is the second member of his family to enter the NHL draft. His brother, Michael, was the 12th overall selection in 2016 for the New Jersey Devils.

Additionally, the McLeods are big, fast and are some of the hardest workers on the ice. Ryan possesses the desirable traits of a throwback centre combined with the modern mobility requirements of the modern game. His two-way game is well regarded and skating is just amazing, especially his agility. He’s the type of player that is favoured by the Old Boys Club, especially Jim Benning and the Vancouver Canucks.

Unfortunately for Ryan, he won’t be selected as high in the draft as his brother. In this profile you are going to see why his age and impressive playoff performance last year worked to his detriment for this year’s draft. McLeod won’t jump off the page right away, but with so many late first round picks moved around this year, he will bolster several teams that are in a rebuild.

You can always use a two-way centre for depth and with his profile, McLeod could be one of those centres who surprises later on. Without further ado, here is what you need to know about Ryan McLeod.

The stats rundown

*Counting statistics provided by EliteProspects

Height: 188 cm/6’2″

Weight: 86 kg/190 lbs

Birthdate: September 21, 1999

Position: Centre

Handedness: Left

Team (league): Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)





#16 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING  (North America)

#30 by Craig Button

#26 by Cam Robinson (Dobber Prospects)


His 70 points is definitely an improvement over last year, but McLeod didn’t stand out among his peers as many hoped. Yes, this draft is loaded with defencemen, but you will see a notable number of forwards that rank ahead of him.

Looking at some more statistics, McLeod had 37 even strength points and 27 primary ones. That’s positive for projecting production, but as you can tell from his assist totals, playmaking is his forte. As such, scouts describe him as someone who passes long before he shoots.

The Steelheads were a middle of the pack team with a 50.1% goals for rate. McLeod was driving offence with a GF% of 53.85 and relGF% of 8.33. As for the postseason, Mississauga was dismissed in the first round, losing in six games to the Barrie Colts. McLeod still showed well in terms of points rate, with five points in six games.

Scouting reports

Peter Harling, Dobber Prospects:

"A natural center, McLeod is already strong on draws and distributes the puck efficiently to his team mates. His skating isn’t as fast as his brothers, but is still a strength to his game as he has good acceleration, strong edge work and agility and is very strong on his skates. McLeod is more of a playmaker as he has excellent vision, (…) but he does have a good, quick and accurate wrist shot. McLeod is already strong on draws and has good size, but could be a little more aggressive. He plays a responsible two-way game and has no glaring holes to his game"

Ben Kerr, Last Word on Hockey:

"McLeod is an outstanding skater and this helps him to be a very good two-way player. He is one of the fastest players in the OHL. He has a long and powerful stride, and gets up to top speed with excellent acceleration. McLeod has outstanding edgework and agility. He can change directions on a dime. (…)McLeod also has very good vision and passing skills. He can create off the rush, using his speed and stickhandling ability to get past defenders. (…) McLeod is much more of a playmaker than a scorer. While he has improved this season and begun to take more shots, he is very much a pass-first player."

Aaron Vickers, Future Considerations:

"McLeod is a big forward with offensive skills who also has a good two-way drive…good skater…is quick and agile in short bursts and able to deceive opposition with quick changes of direction or pace…protects the puck well with his body and likes to drive the net from the wing and does so by dropping his shoulder and leaning on defenders…a really tough player to stop when he uses his size and strength…dangerous in tight…good passing skill…great vision…has an endless motor and is hard to outwork…effective defensively, and works hard at both ends."

What we think

More from The Canuck Way

Missing the 2017 draft by a week, McLeod is one of the older players in this year’s draft. Looking at his numbers last year, 42 points in 68 games is mid-to-late round material on its own. However, what drew everyone’s attention was not his last name or where he was born.

During the 2017 OHL playoffs, the Mississauga Steelheads made it all the way to Finals, losing to a loaded Erie Otters team. Ryan McLeod left the postseason with 20 points in as many games, setting high expectations for his draft season.

Keep in mind, his season wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t particularly spectacular. Although, I see him more as a defensive centre with some offensive upside.

You would almost think I’m describing what people thought Bo Horvat was in 2013. However, Horvat was a shoot-first centre in London, where McLeod is the guy who sets up his teammates to score. Furthermore, he will have years to grow and could defy expectations as Horvat did. I always found it interesting that scouts back then saw him as a shutdown centre when defence is his biggest weakness in the NHL.

Next: 2018 NHL draft prospect profile #25: Mattias Samuelsson

Perhaps we haven’t seen everything Ryan McLeod can do, but for now, I can expect his speed, size and strength to transfer very well to the professional leagues. As for where he may slot in, that is ultimately based on how he develops. However, I can see him being a future middle six option down the middle.