by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)
2015-16 Team: #9, Mississauga Steelheads
Date of birth:03-Feb-98
Place of birth:Mississauga, ON
Ht:6’2″ Wt:185 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 20161st year eligible
- Consensus: 16
- McKeens: 7
- THW War Room Rankings: 12
- ISS: 13
- Bob McKenzie (TSN) – 15
- Future Considerations: 15
- NHL Central Scouting Combined: 16
- Draft Buzz: 18
- Corey Pronman: 19
- Hockey Prospect: 19
- Craig Button (TSN) – 20
— ISS Hockey (@ISShockey) June 10, 2016
Michael McLeod: The Wild Card
Michael McLeod is The wild card in this year’s draft. Even he is starting to refer to himself as The wild card. Why? Well, there are two schools of thought on McLeod:
- School Number 1: Michael McLeod will end up as a first line or high-end second line centre. His skating is close to the top of the draft class, he has excellent size, his work ethic is outstanding, he is a born leader and is excellent in all three zones. He is a coach’s dream – the guy they are happy to rely upon in all situations. His scoring while just average to date will develop given time. This school would likely draft Michael in the top 10.
- School Number 2: School Number 2 is almost the same as Number 1 except for the fact that School 2 is not convinced that McLeod will ever be a prolific scorer in the NHL. Micheal just has not shown an elite finish to date. He appears to get lots of chances with his elite speed but does not appear to be able to finish on them. There seems to be a disconnect between the speed of his feet to get into position to make a good shot and the speed of his brain to be able to capitalize on the opportunity.
In any case, both schools love McLeod. They love what a player like McLeod can bring to a club – the leadership, the example of attention to detail, the work ethic, the competitiveness, the one you depend on in difficult situations, particularly on defense. In short, players like McLeod are the ones you see on the winning teams.
5 Reasons Why Michael McLeod Will Be Impactful in the NHL
- Leadership: Provides the example that others can emulate – work ethic, competiveness, attention to detail.
- Attention to detail: Coach’s dream – backcheck, forecheck, shot blocking, face-offs, support for the defense – all the little details.
- Competitiveness: The competitiveness of a winner.
- Defense: The size, skating and defense that a shutdown centre should have in today’s NHL.
- All situations: The coach’s go to guy – all the time.
At this stage, the offense does not measure up to the physical skills. It will be up to McLeod to rectify this next year.
- Skating: Top five, eye candy, F1 type acceleration, great gears, lights up the radar gun at top speed, excellent agility
- Passing: NHL ability.
- Faceoffs: The guy you send out to get the puck to start the power play by winning the faceoff.
- Forechecking: Has the skating ability, size and determination to strip the puck from the opposition on the forecheck.
- Quickness: McLeoddoes everything at top speed which causes difficulties for the other side.
McLeod is the type of player who will become a NHL team’s shutdown guy, the guy they send out against the big guy from the other side. Yes, he still has not perfected his defensive craft but the basis is there and the rest will come with his work ethic and competitiveness.
- Backcheck: Uses his elite speed to provide an effective backcheck.
- Support for defense down low: Does it right, comes back behind the puck on defense to support the defense.
- Faceoffs: Already high-end.
- Shot blocking: Does what it takes to win in all situations, will sacrifice his body to block a shot.
- Penalty kill: He is the guy you send out in a PK situation. Again, it is his speed that allows him to provide a wide defensive coverage.
- The wild card: It will be only McLeod that has a say in what school turns out to know the truth or be closer to the truth on the real McLeod. For that, we are likely have to wait three to five years to see the type of offense he really brings to the NHL.
NHL Draft Projection
If a team from School Number 1 (thinks his offense will develop) is picking in the top 10, McLeod has a very good chance of ending in the top 10. The good news for him is that the teams from School Number 2 (will produce third line or a modest second line offense) still like him as much or more as the teams from School Number 1. The only difference is that School Number 2 teams are likely to be prepared to pay a slot in the teens, probably high teens.
“Speed is the name of his game, and it is the name of the game in the NHL today. The Pittsburgh Penguins are winning the Stanley Cup by virtue of their speed and McLeod will play that game to a tee. The only question is if he has the offensive skills to be an elite scorer? At 6-2 he can be a first line center, or can be a very effective second or third. He is already efficient at face-offs, and plays well in all three zones. No question he will be a NHL player, but how high is his ceiling?”
– Peter Harling, writer for the Kingston Frontenacs, at OHLProspects.Blogspot.ca
“He had one overtime game where he won more face-offs than the entire Barrie team combined. The intangibles he brings in addition to his terrific speed make him a can’t miss prospect. He is going to be a top two center with size, speed, grit, faceoff prowess, penalty killing abilities ..what is there not to like? He may never lead the league in scoring..but neither will Jonathan Toews. This kid is a winner.”
– Scout at McKeens.com
“Michael McLeod plays a fast, skilled, team first style of game. Michael will excel in his new leadership role with our team and serve as an excellent role model for our young fans.”
– James Boyd, General Manager of the Mississauga Steelheads, in announcing Michael McLeod as the new Team Captain at OntarioHockeyLeague.com
“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. What separates McLeod from the lot of draft-eligible speedsters is that he has the size, strength and puck-control skills to go along with it. He’s an excellent passer either up the ice or diagonally in the offensive zone, and his ability to thread the needle while moving his feet can force opponents to cheat towards the pass.”
– Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst, at TheDraftAnalyst.com
“He has great quickness and speed, is smart and skilled but also very reliable. A coach can put him out in any situation and feel comfortable. His speed allows him to create offense off the rush, making him very difficult to defend.”
– Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, at NHL.com
Scouting Report: Michael McLeod
"He is a guy you watch every night, you get something out of him."https://t.co/P4QfBhdUIc
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) May 20, 2016
- Skating: Top 5 in draft
- Leadership: Captain of Mississauga Steelheads for 2016-17
- 200-foot game
- Backchecking and forechecking
- Support for defense down low
- Work ethic
From yesterday, Steelheads name Mississauga native Michael McLeod captain, first homegrown captain for the franchise https://t.co/36FziHDeEU
— Around The OHL (@AroundTheOHL) June 2, 2016
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Offensive decision making
- Strength in lower body
It comes back to whether McLeod finds his offensive game. If he does, he has all the other tools of a first line centre. If he continues on his present track, he will end up as a high-end third line centre or a modest output second line centre. Whatever the outcome, McLeod will be a valued member of the team and an integral part of whatever success the team may have.
Risk = 1.5/5 Reward = 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offensive = 6/10 Defensive = 9/10
- 15-16 – OHL – Coaches Poll – Eastern Conference Hardest Worker – Tied for No 1
- 15-16 – CHL – Top Prospects Game
- 15-16 – Ivan Hlinka Tournament – Gold Medal with Team Canada
- 13-14 – OHL Cup – MVP
- 13-14 – OHL Cup –Champion with Toronto Marlboros Minor Midget AAA
- 12-13 – OHF Bantam AAA Gold Medal with Toronto Marlboros Bantam AAA
— Mississauga Steelheads (@OHLSteelheads) June 1, 2016
Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com