Colorado Avalanche: Ryan McLeod a Smart, Speedy Playmaker

ST CATHARINES, ON - NOVEMBER 25: Ryan McLeod #91 of the Mississauga Steelheads skates during an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs at the Meridian Centre on November 25, 2017 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
ST CATHARINES, ON - NOVEMBER 25: Ryan McLeod #91 of the Mississauga Steelheads skates during an OHL game against the Niagara IceDogs at the Meridian Centre on November 25, 2017 in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Avalanche will be picking 16th in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft. They might use that selection on Ryan McLeod.

While you can never have too much quality defense, the Colorado Avalanche really need more help on offense. Ideally, the player whom the Avs pick with their 16th-overall would jump straight to the NHL. That’s unlikely, though. We could hope, though, that said player will make his appearance in the 2019-20 season.

Center Ryan McLeod might be a prospect the Avs are considering. Let’s see what he brings to the table.

Ryan McLeod

2017-18 Team: Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)
Date of Birth:  Sept. 21, 1999 (18 years old)
Ht: 6’2″
Wt: 203 pounds
Position: Center
Shoots: Left

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Reading through Ryan McLeod’s scouting reports, I was perplexed as to why he wasn’t ranked higher among prospects. And then I came across this nugget from Sam Cosentino of SportsNet:

One of the most fascinating players in this draft class. At this point, the parts are greater than the sum. If and when it all comes together, you have a player who should impact the game at the next level.”

That’s an interesting observation, that he has a lot of skill, but it’s not coming together. I mean, certain things certainly are clicking — McLeod recorded 70 points (26 goals, 44 assists) with the Mississauga Steelheads last season.

What’s more, some of those parts are very impressive. For example, scouts rave about his skating. Dominic Tiano of OHL Writers describes McLeod as “an excellent skater with jets on his blades.” Tiano continues:

Tremendous speed, who works his edges extremely well and can turn on a dime, an ability to slow it down when he needs to but needs to work on combining that skating ability with his size and drive the net more frequently.”

Future Considerations is a little more cautious in its praise, calling him a “good skater,” but one who’s “not the fastest when moving north-south.” The site adds that he’s “quick and agile in short bursts and able to deceive opposition with quick changes of direction or pace.”

Ben Kerr of Last Word on Sports considers McLeod to be an “outstanding skater.” In fact, Kerr credits him with being one of the fastest players in the OHL. Kerr continues:

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.

Ryan McLeod has good vision and “superb” playmaking abilities according to Tiano. Indeed, he’s known for being more of a playmaker than finisher. Here’s how Tiano further describes his offense:

He does possess a very good shot and has taken noticeable steps to use it more often this season…Offensively, McLeod is dangerous on the powerplay when he has room. He sees the ice so well and with excellent anticipation skills, sees plays develop and he’s excellent at setting up teammates for scoring opportunities.

Like Tiano, Future Considerations praises McLeod’s vision. What’s more, though, the site adds that Ryan is especially adept at using his size to work the puck:

“…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…”

Ryan McLeod plays a good two-way game. Kerr credits his skating for his defensive abilities at least partially:

McLeod’s skating helps him to get to loose pucks, to cut down an opponents space, or to anticipate passes and create turnovers. Once a turnover is created, he is able to quickly transition to offence.

Overall, Kerr considers his defensive skills “advanced for his age.”

Ryan McLeod in action:

Ryan McLeod and the Colorado Avalanche

Looking at Ryan’s name as an Avs fan, naturally your first thought is of the Highlander, Cody McLeod. Actually, Ryan is brother to Michael McLeod, the 12-overall in 2016, chosen by the New Jersey Devils. No relation to Cody.

Ryan McLeod offers a pretty complete package consisting of size, hockey IQ and abilities. He’s a fast and agile skater with decent puck skills and great ice vision. That’s the type of player the Colorado Avalanche favors.

Scouts don’t consider McLeod’s skills to be elite, though. GM Joe Sakic has said the Avs are going to take the best player available in the first round. McLeod is projected to go late first round, a bit loser than the Avs are picking.

I’m going to say the Avalanche have players higher on their list than Ryan McLeod. I doubt he falls all the way to the #47 pick, which Colorado also owns. If he did, though, the Avs might take a chance on him.


The 2018 NHL Draft takes place in Dallas on June 22-23. The Colorado Avalanche have eight picks — one in each round plus an additional in round two thanks to the Duchene trade.