2016-17 Team: Regina Pats (#19)
Date of Birth: March 10, 1999
Place of Birth: Grasswood, Saskatchewan
Ht.: 5’11” Wt.: 181 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 31 (Mid-Season, NA Skaters)
- NHL Central Scouting: 42 (Final, NA Skaters)
- Bob McKenzie: 42 (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 70 (March)
- ISS: Unranked (May)
- Jeff Marek: Unranked (October)
February 3rd will long be embedded in Jake Leschyshyn’s memory. That’s when the prized Regina Pats center suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Surgery followed, along with a projected six-month rehabilitation process. How the injury will impact his status for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft is anyone’s guess.
Pre-injury projections had Leschyshyn being selected as high as a late first-rounder and as low a mid-late second-rounder. He reportedly will be cleared by doctors to resume full hockey activities by training camp in September.
— World U17 Challenge (@HC_WU17) November 5, 2015
The legacy NHLer is the son of ex-defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn, a member of the 1996 Stanley Cup-champion Colorado Avalanche who dressed for more than 1,000 games. Like his father, Leschyshyn enhances his all-around game with a quality work ethic.
The younger Leschyshyn is an energy forward who plays with an edge each shift. His skating improved during the first half of this season, which better complimented his quick first step. His hands are soft and often corals natural-zone passes in-stride.
During his time with Pats, Leschyshyn showed grit while battling for rebounds in the crease and possessed the ability to effectively screen opposing goalies. He competed in all three zones and was a key producer on special teams.
NHL Draft Projection
Entering a summer of rehab, the possibility remains Jake Leschyshyn still could be selected in the top two rounds, possibly three. After all, Regina defenseman Josh Mahura suffered a similar injury during 2015-16 and was drafted 85th overall by the Anaheim Ducks last summer. To be certain, Leschyshyn will grow leery of doctor checkups over the next few months.
“He’s pretty bummed out (about suffering the knee injury). I told him it seems like the end of the world right now and it sucks but you get through it. It’s a lot of hard work but you come back and you start playing hockey again and it seems like it never really happened.” – Josh Mahura, Regina teammate
“He was probably 12 years old before I showed him my Stanley Cup ring,” Curtis said. “I try to stay as behind the scenes as possible in terms of what I was able to do in my career. I don’t need to be flashing it or showing him how I played or what I did. I just want him to be who he is and not have to say, ‘Geez, I have to be like my dad.’ I know he’s not like that and that’s what I enjoy about seeing Jake (on the ice). He doesn’t try to emulate what I did.” – Curtis Leschyshyn, father
- NHL Genes
- Explosive First Step
- Work Ethic
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
At this time, it’s difficult to project the condition Jake Leschyshyn will be in when he returns next fall from a torn ACL. Will his explosive first step fizzle? Will his high-end acceleration keep him a step ahead? If the recovery is successful, Leschyshyn could develop into a two-way, second-line center. Even if he loses a step, he plays with enough grit to develop into a dependable third- or fourth-line forward.
Risk – 5/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 8/10, Defense – 7/10
Jake Leschyshyn dressed for Team Cherry during the CHL Top Prospects Game last January and gained international experience by competing in the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Jeff Hawkins is a career sportswriter who has collected eight industry awards, including two Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) honors. Hawkins has served as a beat writer for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and UHL’s Adirondack IceHawks. A husband and father, Hawkins enjoys live music, hiking, New York-style pizza with Dr. Pepper, and writing with his golden Labrador retriever “mutt” cuddled around his feet.