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First Round Targets: RYAN McLEOD

Projected to be in the 20th-30th overall range, is center Ryan McLeod. He won’t be drafted as high as his brother Michael, but he might just be on the same level as him on the ice.

Ryan is a little less quick than his brother on the ice, but they share the same all-around game at the center position – strong and very dynamic offensively.

The only thing is, he is one of the oldest prospects in this draft that is first-year eligible. He missed the birthday cutoff by just three days, making him have one more OHL season under his belt compared to most of his draft peers.

His age could be seen as a negative or a positive. Positively, the experience of an extra OHL season can be beneficial when comparing him to other OHL prospects. But if you look at it outside of the OHL, everyone is just compared by age and he doesn’t stand out for basically playing the season after his draft year. He should be well-above other draft-eligible prospects that could be almost a full year younger than him.

Although at 6’2″ and 200 lbs, he is a lot more NHL-ready than most of his OHL colleagues.

Rankings

Stats

His raw numbers don’t really jump out in any way.

Not in the top-ten in any category, Ryan McLeod is a very safe pick to have in the first round. Among U18 forwards in the OHL this season, McLeod is 14th in even-strength points per game, with 0.54. Not the most appealing numbers when compared to his other draft-eligible OHL forwards.

Eye Test

As you can see here, McLeod is a very good player overall. He doesn’t put up the points above, but he would be in any coach’s dream of having a balanced forward group. Projected to be a middle-6 centerman, McLeod can play anywhere he needs to be on the ice – can contribute defensively as much as he can offensively.

He has a strong frame that can keep the possession of the puck away from the opposition in key areas of the ice.

Fit With The Red Wings

I don’t think that Ryan McLeod makes it close to where the Red Wings will want to take him. He would be a great pick for one of the three picks the Wings have from 30-36th overall, but he won’t make it that far. Especially when you consider that teams towards the end of the first-round will want more NHL-ready prospects to contribute to their playoff team.

My guess is that he can go anywhere from 15-30th overall, but that’s just a random guess. Anything can happen on draft day.

His style of play does bring a concern when it relates to the Red Wings reported draft strategy. As Tyler Wright has been quoted on, the Wings will be looking for skill and talent first, not so much size or NHL-readiness, in the upcoming draft. Ryan McLeod isn’t necessarily that type of pick. He has the NHL size and game, but when you want to “swing for the fences” you look for overall skill, and McLeod will be overshadowed in that category standing beside other players available during those three Red Wings picks.


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