Ryan McLeod – TheOilKnight.ca
 

Category: Ryan McLeod

By the OilKnight 01/05/20

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Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Condor Report!

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I made a New year’s resolution this year to cover the Bakersfield Condors as much as I can in addition to the all draft eligible prospect stuff I do for a couple of reasons:

For one, there are no Edmonton Oilers prospects in the OHL currently and I miss them. Secondly, you the fans demand more content and I’m all about supply and demand.

So, what I’ll be doing now that I officially have the AHL TV pass is provide you as much content as I can regarding our Edmonton Oilers prospects. In particular, I will be focusing on 5 players specifically: Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Dmitri Samorukov & Kirill Maksimov. The best part too tracking all these guys is they all kind of offer something different in terms of skill-sets. For the 2nd night in a row, Samorukov did not play after taking a puck in the face 2 games ago. 

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Bakersfield vs. San Diego 01/04/20 – Condors win 2-1 in SO

Lines:

Benson-Marody-Currie

Esposito-Cave-Maksimov

Gambardella-Malone-Miles Koules

Stukel-McLeod-Hebig

 

PP#1

Benson-Marody-Currie-Cave-Day

PP#2

Malone-Cave-McLeod-Bouchard-Persson/Manning

 

PK units:

Esposito-Cave-Kulevich-Day

McLeod-Maksimov-Bouchard-Lowe

 

Game recap: The Condors didn’t necessarily deserve to win this game but G Stuart Skinner was terrific again and kept them in it until Luke Esposito tied it in the 3rd. Skinner, finished with 39 saves and many were of the difficult variety especially in the 2nd period where he & the Condors killed off 4 consecutive penalties in 7 minutes, including a 5 on 3 man advantage. Meanwhile, the Maksimov-Cave-Esposito line was the best line for Bakersfield. They created several chances, scored the tying goal in the 3rd, and Maksimov secured the 2 points with the shootout winner. 

My analysis: Pretty lackadaisical effort & sloppy execution but their goalie bailed them out. PP was absolutely awful again and badly needs an infusion of new personnel. Not having Maksimov on the PP is an absolute disgrace at this point, and the coaching staff continues to start Logan Day ahead of Evan Bouchard which is a mistake. But remember, coach Jay Woodcroft was the PP coach in Edmonton in 2017-18 when they finished LAST in the NHL on the PP despite having McDavid, Draisaitl, Hopkins & Klefbom. That quartet is currently the #1 PP unit in the league as of today. 

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The Big 5

 

If you missed my article from earlier today, I am focusing on 5 major prospects. Tyler Benson and the 4 OHL prospects from last year. You can find scouting reports on those 4 here:

Bouchard scouting report

McLeod scouting report

Maksimov scouting report

Samorukov scouting report

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Individual Performances

Evan Bouchard

Bouch was a little more quiet tonight but was still solid in all facets. Showed a bit more aggression tonight including one sequence near the boards where I though he was actually going to drop the gloves. Excellent at zone entries again by my eye. Pushed the pace late 2nd period and into 3rd as Bakersfield tried to tie it. Had a chance to end it late but drew a penalty. 4 shots on goal. Was on ice for first goal as attacker got behind he and Benson for a breakaway after Bakersfield nearly scored on a rebound seconds before. Overall, played with poise, made mostly good decisions, looked confident – again. 

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Tyler Benson

Benson was just ok tonight. Looked a bit tired at times. Only had one shot in the game until with 15 seconds left he took a big shot that was saved by Anthony Stolarz. His line with Marody and Currie was a bit off tonight. Forced too much and created too many turnovers. I’d have to go over the tape again but not a whole lot else to report. 

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Ryan McLeod

Skated well but he always does that. Questionable shot selection as he continues to tease with speed but doesn’t use it effectively enough to go hard to the net. In back to back nights, I’ve seen several examples of him going wide with speed and not getting a shot off, or he cuts into the middle of double coverage and attempts a screened shot from far out. Doesn’t appear to want it bad enough still. It was a re-occurring theme in OHL viewings and still an issue here. His line was benched for last 9 minutes or so of the game though he made a terrific defensive play as last man back in 3 on 3 OT. 

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Kirill Maksimov

Maksimov was very good once again tonight and as mentioned, I thought his line was the most productive. He did take one of his patented bad penalties – a retaliatory slash which was the 4th of 4 consecutive penalties. But other than that, I thought he was engaged, aggressive as usual on the forecheck, and forcing turnovers. Had a great chance in close early that Stolarz just got a piece of. Didn’t see the ice in OT but got a chance to win the game in the shootout and did exactly that. Still blows my mind how he is not on the PP. The pressure is on to make changes. He’s too good not to keep off any longer. 

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Conclusion

As mentioned Dmitri Samorukov was injured and did not play this game. Overall, the Condors got lucky thanks to some great goaltending. But the big take away is once again, their PP is AWFUL and needs some major adjustments. They went 0 for 10 in these 2 games yet somehow managed to win both. That needs to change fast! Also of note, Shane Starrett who has been out for most of the season, was the backup tonight. That’s great news for this team.

Next game is on Wednesday vs. Stockton.

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To comment, please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight



By the OilKnight 01/03/20

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Welcome to the 2020 edition of the Condor Report!

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I made a New year’s resolution this year to cover the Bakersfield Condors as much as I can in addition to the all draft eligible prospect stuff I do for a couple of reasons:

For one, there are no Edmonton Oilers prospects in the OHL currently and I miss them. Secondly, you the fans demand more content and I’m all about supply and demand.

So, what I’ll be doing now that I officially have the AHL TV pass is provide you as much content as I can regarding our Edmonton Oilers prospects. In particular, I will be focusing on 5 players specifically: Evan Bouchard, Tyler Benson, Ryan McLeod, Dmitri Samorukov & Kirill Maksimov. The best part too tracking all these guys is they all kind of offer something different in terms of skill-sets. This game though, Samorukov did not play after taking a puck in the face last game apparently. 

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Bakersfield vs. San Diego 01/03/20 – Condors win 3-2

Lines:

Benson-Marody-Currie

Gambardella-Malone-Miles Koules

Esposito-Cave-Maksimov

Stukel-McLeod-Hebig

PP#1

Benson-Marody-Currie-Gambardella-Day

PP#2

Malone-Cave-McLeod-Bouchard-Persson/Manning

PK units:

Esposito-Cave-Kulevich-Day

McLeod-Maksimov-Bouchard-Lowe

Game recap: The Condors came out flying scoring 2 goals in just over 2 minutes. The Gulls fought back to tie it 2-2 after controlling the majority of the 2nd period. But, the Condors got a goal in the 3rd and hung on as Stuart Skinner was excellent in this one. 

My analysis: I gotta be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with the line combinations (big surprise I know). My BIGGEST issue though is on the Powerplay where it is pretty much a gongshow right now. See, this team is a lot like their parent club in Edmonton. They’re not a great 5 on 5 team. If, they are going to win games they need to be good on special teams. Call-ups have killed their depth especially on D (Jones, Bear, Lagesson & Yamamato up front). But, it appears they still have the pieces to be good on both units but are not utilizing them properly to take advantage of their abilities. 

By now you’re probably saying “what does this guy know, he watched one game“. Now, I may not have seen a lot of Condor games this season but I watched all these OHL kids for 4 years before they even got there. I’ve written numerous articles on their strengths & weaknesses over those 4 years for different outlets, and have been around the game my whole life.

In case anyone is not familiar with what Kirill Maksimov is good at (and that includes Jay Woodcroft), take a look at this:

Why is that guy not on your Powerplay? Either the left half wall or playing the bumper position in the middle? My friend Rich on Twitter tells me “they pass way too much on the PP”. Well, that’s because they are all PASS FIRST players on the PP.

Benson – passing playmaker, 7 goals in 30 games. Marody – not a shooter, 5 goals in 26 games. Gambardella, Currie, Logan Day? 

If you want to score on the PP you need shooting threats to score on the PP it’s simple. Maksimov is a shooter and has a helluva shot. It is NHL caliber. Why are you not taking advantage of that? And why is Logan Day quarterbacking your powerplay when Evan Bouchard is EASILY the better option and has been doing it for years at a very successful rate? 

I hate to be the guy that always questions the coaching staff but come on – it’s common sense. What is he waiting for? The team is 18th in the league and has two LEGIT PP threats that he is choosing NOT to use on the Top unit – in favor of ineffective veterans. That’s my only real beef so far. Maksimov shoots like Ovechkin from the left circle and your PP is struggling….so put him on the PK? Put both Maksimov & Bouchard out there and let them shoot the lights out. It’s 30 games into the season now stop fooling around by creating some imaginary pecking order. Play the best options regardless of age……..period. But Woodcroft is a McLellan disciple and loves his vets….

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The Big 5

So, now I’ll give you my breakdown of the 5 main prospects I talked about. I always strive to give un-bias analysis and give you good and bad not sugar-coated. That will vary from game to game depending on their performances obviously. FYI, I wrote articles on the (4 now former) OHL prospects for the Edmonton Journal in the summer, and highlighted the things they needed to work on as they turned to minor pro. You can find those here:

Bouchard scouting report

McLeod scouting report

Maksimov scouting report

Samorukov scouting report

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Individual Performances

Evan Bouchard

Bouch was terrific all night. He moved the puck extremely well. Was good on retrievals. Showed off his tremendous poise with the puck. Made plenty of good decisions. Led several successful breakouts and defended well. I thought he was the best player on the ice last night. Looked in compete control all game. Helped preserve a one goal lead late with a blocked shot & penalty drawn to ice the clock. Wasn’t overly aggressive, did get beat once trying to stick check but recovered well. Overall, excellent game.

#2 Evan Bouchard

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Tyler Benson

I haven’t watched Benson consistently for a long time admittedly. I didn’t see him much in his draft year as he was hurt for more than half of it & my viewings of him have been sporadic at best since then. What I do know is he isn’t the fastest or toughest player but makes up for it with his hockey IQ, passing & good positioning. That’s pretty much what I saw last night.

Benson is a natural playmaker and exhibits excellent vision and passing ability. That was obvious last night. There were times though, I thought his lack of speed did allow defenders to close the gap quickly. Unable to beat defenders wide, he coughed up the puck a few times along the boards. Board play in general was rather poor. But overall, I thought he had a good game and at this point I’m still not sure how well his game will translate to the NHL. He’s still a wildcard for me. Has he earned a promotion? Absolutely. Will his production translate into a Top 6 role in Edmonton? Still not sure but it’s time to find out me thinks. 

#16 Tyler Benson

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Ryan McLeod

To the untrained eye, McLeod is often seen as  “had a good game” because he was “flying out there”. I know because I’ve seen and heard it for 4 years. The reality is, the biggest knock on his game is he has speed for miles but doesn’t go hard enough to the net & is viewed as a perimeter player. We saw a few examples of that again last night. Even the scramble at the side of the net he didn’t move his feet just reached from the outside to try and bank it in (though he then passed to Bouch for a goal). Puck died on his stick a few times along the boards when he was checked. Poor decision to skate into middle with two defenders there and shoot from far out when could have fought harder for a better scoring chance. “Settled” for low percentage shots. Still a great skater, defensively responsible but work still needs to be done to get greasier chances. Did show some jam in a couple board battles. Need to see more of that.

#29 Ryan McLeod

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Kirill Maksimov

The challenges for Maksimov as he turned pro were to constantly be moving his feet and not take dumb penalties. No PIMs last night and I thought he was moving his feet all game. Was aggressive on forecheck & on the backcheck creating several turnovers. Great in puck protection along the boards & keeping pucks alive. Didn’t get many Grade A chances but was around the puck a lot. It appears he is relegated to 2nd PK unit and little to no PP time which is extremely disappointing right now considering how well he is playing at both ends of ice & the natural PP weapon he is. Patience I guess but the skating was a positive for sure. Remember, he was basically out for 5 months from March-August with a knee injury. Seems to back to form now. 

#11 Kirill Maksimov

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Conclusion

As mentioned Dmitri Samorukov was injured and did not play this game. Overall, I thought Bouchard looks to take over as the Top Dman in Bakersfield. Benson appears ready for his NHL call-up. McLeod still has work to do to get greasier, and Maksimov seems to be doing everything right to get more opportunity in an offensive role. Again, it was just one game but now that I have the AHL TV pass, I will continue to provide you the fans updates on all our favourite prospects. Stay tuned!

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To comment, please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

By TheOilKnight 03/17

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Ryan McLeod was drafted in the 2nd round in 2018 by the Edmonton Oilers. At the time, he was viewed as a 1st round talent who slipped to the 2nd round before being scooped up by Edmonton. The main reasons why, was he couldn’t shake the “perimeter player” tag many attached to him, and his inconsistent efforts were a cause for concern. While he didn’t necessarily quash those concerns of his game in his draft +1 year, he still showed enough to think he could have success as a pro. His speed is elite. His IQ is very high. He can really shoot the puck when he wants to, and his vision and passing ability are superb. McLeod became a leader for Mississauga in his draft year and helped steer Saginaw to a divisional title for the first time in 8 years. There is plenty to like about this prospect.

Throughout his OHL career, McLeod never really became a big point producer. The most points goals he had in a season was 26, and the most points had in a season was 70. Rather, he established himself as a reliable two way center who’s speed & versatility became real assets for him throughout his career in Mississauga and Saginaw. He played on the powerplay and penalty kill a lot. He took all the big faceoffs and defensive zone starts. He became the #1 center and leader of the talented Spirit squad. He basically morphed himself into an all round player capable of playing a variety of roles. That should bode well for his future as he turns pro.

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Strengths

McLeod‘s speed is a real strength. He is a terrific skater who moves around the ice with ease. He can leave defenders in the dust with a slight juke move and his top end speed. His agility and edgework are also top notch. He has an explosive first couple steps. He also displays good puck control & stickhandling while flying around the rink. McLeod will immediately become the best skater in Bakersfield among the forwards when he gets there & that will translate well to the NHL. Elite skater.

McLeod also has a terrific shot and release. It can be quite deceptive too as he likes to fake like he is going to pass but then can rip high over the shoulder. The problem is, he doesn’t use it nearly enough or he quite often shoots from too far out. Since he’s always looking to pass, his shot almost becomes his last resort if a play isn’t there. He only scored 61 goals in his entire OHL career which isn’t enough for someone with that caliber of a shot and quick hands. He needs to be encouraged to use it more at the next level, otherwise he will be too predictable of a player.

McLeod has terrific vision and passing ability. He has a knack for finding that man cross ice or making a precise feed back door for a one-time shot. He also has the patience to let plays develop as he draws defenders in then before firing a quick pass. Sometimes, he can be guilty of over-passing when a shot is available but you gotta love how he sees passing lanes open up out there. He is more of a playmaker than a pure shooter so it only makes sense to have a guy like Maksimov on his line when he gets to Bakersfield. He is a great distributor of the puck.

McLeod is an excellent 200 ft player. He is aggressive on the forecheck, and hustles back to pick up his man in the d-zone. Quite often he is the defensively responsible one on his line. Typically, you will see him cover for a pinching defenceman on the ice. Creates a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone. Great defensive instincts. This will bode well for him as he turns pro.

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Here are some highlights from this season that showcase his strengths:

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Weaknesses

Like any prospect, McLeod also has areas he can improve on as he turns pro and continues to work on his game.

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Competitiveness/Intensity

Here’s the thing. While he’s usually in good position, McLeod can be guilty of floating at times and not going hard enough to the net. He is also guilty of fly-bys and a lack of overall compete along the boards. He’s not a physical player at all he is more of a stick-checker. That was one of the main reasons he dropped in the draft, and is still a part of his game. As he moves on to pro hockey, he’s going to have to be willing to battle harder, especially if he wants to establish himself as hard-working bottom 6 guy. Again, 61 goals total in 4 years of Junior likely means he’s not going to be a Top 6 player in the NHL. The ability is certainly there, but his NHL future like so many other prospects is going to come down to how bad he wants it. This is the key to me whether he becomes a solid pro or not.

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Finishing Ability

It is somewhat surprising that a guy with his shot & release, dynamic speed and quick hands never scored more than 26 goals in a season in Junior. There is no doubt he has the tools to score more but for whatever reason it didn’t click. Now, part of it was he had a guy like Florida 1st rounder Owen Tippett playing with him both in Mississauga and Saginaw who he liked to defer to. But, another part of it is he just didn’t work hard enough around the net to create 2nd and 3rd chances. Too often it was a shot then a fly-by. In order to maximize his potential, McLeod needs to shoot more and from high quality scoring areas, not just rely on a bad angle shot from the half boards. That goes hand and hand with the compete level mentioned above. He has the ability to be a more well rounded scorer who can be a dual threat as a passer or shooter but he has to want it more. That’s why I’m a little hesitant to pigeon-hole him as only a bottom six guy at the NHL level. Everything he has shown in Junior indicates that’s who he will be as a pro but there is sneaky offensive upside with him if he can adjust to a more pro-style game offensively.

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Projection

There’s no doubt McLeod is a tremendous skater who is capable of keeping up in the NHL. He offers a wide range of skills that make him versatile and valuable in the Edmonton Oilers organization. The key for him will be to up his compete level and intensity; go harder to the dirty areas if need be. If he can do that, he could carve out a nice career for himself. If he continues to defer and be more of a perimeter player similar to a guy like Ryan Spooner was in Edmonton, he will struggle to stick in the NHL. His offensive ceiling is probably a 3rd line center or perhaps a 2nd line C/W in a pinch. But, his true value might very well be as an important role player capable of playing shut down minutes, killing penalties, taking key faceoffs, while chipping in a few big goals here and there. There’s an opening for that kind of player in Edmonton long-term so the opportunity is there for him if he wants it. There is a possibility of upside as a pro if the intensity increases, as the skillset is good all-round.

As far as NHL comps go, McLeod appears to be somewhere in between a Ryan Spooner (low end) and a Ryan Dzingel (high end). The difference between those two speedsters really is their compete levels & overall consistency. That will be McLeod‘s biggest challenge as a pro. He doesn’t really have any glaring weaknesses other than the desire to do whatever it takes to succeed on the ice. If he can push himself to up his compete level on a consistent basis then the Oilers could really have a gem here. That’s why it is important I think for him to get at least a solid year in the AHL of mucking it up every night. It should make him a tougher player to play against and a more determined player, rather than a guy who just “skates for miles”. Regardless, he looks like the future #3C for this team almost like Todd Marchant back in the day. Someone who can be relied on heavily in every situation & provide some secondary scoring. The question of how much scoring he can provide is still to be determined.

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To comment please do so via Twitter @TheOilKnight

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