Ryan Leonard – 2023 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Ryan Leonard

2022-23 Team: USNTDP Juniors / USHL
Date of Birth: Jan 21, 2005
Place of Birth: Amherst, MA, USA
Height: 6-foot-0, Weight: 192 pounds
Shoots: Right
Position: C / Right Wing / Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-year eligible


When you consider how deep the 2023 NHL Entry Draft is expected to be, it will take a player with incredible talent to break into the first round, let alone the Top-15 players selected. Sometimes this talent can be in one aspect of the game that is already NHL-worthy, and other times it will be for a player who is well-rounded that can grow their game in all directions in order to make their name in the league.

Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide

For Ryan Leonard, his future in hockey will likely be decided by his versatility. Few players can play one position at a top level, yet Leonard has played at Center, Right, and Left Wing throughout the season for the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP). He is also a threat both in the defensive and offensive zones, as he will play hard against the boards to win a puck battle behind his net, only to turn around and bring it back up the ice to create a scoring chance at the other.

During the 2022-23 season with the US National Under-18, Leonard posted 39 goals and 73 points in 45 games played. Then, in 15 games played so far with the USNTDP, he scored 10 goals and 19 points. So, he is no slouch when it comes to scoring, even if he isn’t expected to be a major offensive driver.

Ryan Leonard USNTDP
With his strong two-way game, Ryan Leonard could be a first-round pick at the 2023 NHL Draft. (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Defensively, Leonard is already showcasing the skillset of a dominant two-way forward. He has a strong ice presence and is able to put himself in the position to make the right play on the puck to generate opportunities for his team. Also, while he doesn’t have the biggest frame at rough 6-foot tall, he plays strong on his skates and is showcasing the ability to knock players off the puck.

For 2023-24 and beyond, Leonard is committed to playing hockey at Boston College. This will be the perfect place for him to develop his game over the course of the next three to four years, before taking that next step to the NHL. Given his toolkit, it wouldn’t be surprising to see in break into the league before his 21st birthday.

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Ryan Leonard – NHL Draft Projection

When you look at early projections of the 2023 Draft, few people had Leonard as a first-round talent, let alone a player who could crack the top 10. Yet, with his rapid development and potential as a two-way star, he is starting to turn heads around the league.

Latest News & Highlights

However, that doesn’t mean that he is a guaranteed top pick. Fast-rising yet smaller forwards can be overlooked on draft day, even if they shouldn’t be. This means the lowest projects that see Leonard selected late in Round 1 could become reality. To me, Leonard should be selected between the 11 to 19 range, as he checks enough of the boxes general managers love, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see him fall as low as the 30s on draft day.


Ryan Leonard is a high energy winger who never takes his foot off the gas in terms of both speed and effort. He uses his speed and skill to blow by defenders in the neutral zone and pressure in-zone defenders who struggle to anticipate his next move. His playmaking and shot aren’t exceptional, but they’re both good enough to be reasonably sure that his offense would translate to the NHL some day.

Logan Horn – THW.com

Leonard is a highly energetic and lethal goal scorer that plays with a high level of intensity every time as he shows no quit to his game. He’s always in attack mode and displays a shooters mentality with a quick snap of his wrist. He has great velocity and accuracy and is always finding the back of the net as his 22 goals with the U18 squad shows. He displays soft hands in tight spaces, fooling both defenders and goaltenders.

Peter Baracchini – THW.com

Leonard has a way of making his own space on the ice. Sometimes he does that with his speed but a lot of times he does that by going through high-traffic areas and coming away with the puck. At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, this centre is strong. He is in great physical condition, and he knows how to use it to his advantage.

Russ Cohen – eprinkside.com


  • Strong skater
  • Understands how to utilize his body to make space on the ice
  • Versatile
  • Can play a heavier game, considering his size
  • Great scoring instincts

Under Construction – Improvements to Make

  • Doesn’t have the highest scoring ceiling for a 2023 first-round prospect

NHL Potential

While he may not be the sexiest pick on draft day, Leonard is the kind of player that every team wants on their roster. With his two-way play, I could see him slotting into a team’s third line after developing at Boston College for a few seasons. He has top-six potential that could be reached if everything goes well in his development, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a first-line forward given where his toolkit is at right now.


Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense – 7/10, Defense – 9/10

Awards and Achievements

  • U18 2022 World Junior Championship Silver Medal

Ryan Leonard Stats