Ryan McLeod just wrapped up his first season of pro hockey this year playing with the Bakersfield Condors.
There, he scored five goals and 23 points in 56 games getting a good look at the pro game. Drafted by the Oilers in the second round of the 2018 draft, it was a fairly strong season for McLeod nearly being a point-per-game producer in his four OHL seasons.
Known for his speed, his strong skating ability and high offensive IQ, it’s undeniable that McLeod is a strong prospect for the Oilers centre rankings in the years to come.
While yes, he needs more polishing in the AHL, he could be a guy Edmonton sees in the bottom-six sooner than later.
And with that, he earned a chance to prove himself amid the Oilers training camp and at this point, it’s hard to imagine him in any games.
McLeod is still a very raw talent and as I mentioned above, needs time to develop his skill set still. Arguments have been made that he’s too much of a perimeter player struggling to dig in deep. That’s a concern for a centre at any level and is something the Oilers can’t have as a weakness when other centre’s can provide that level of grit in the bottom-six.
It’s not to say that McLeod can’t round himself out in the years to come, but to put him in a best-of-five series against Chicago, or more potential playoff games in the future, could be a situation far too risky.
Nonetheless, McLeod is going to get a great taste of not only what the NHL is like, but also a chance to learn from the big club about what and where he needs to work on his game.
On Twitter: @zjlaing