ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas on June 22-23. Ryan McLeod is the No. 16-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. The Avalanche has the 16th overall selection at the draft.
Being the youngest of three hockey brothers is never an easy feat, but Ryan McLeod has been up for the challenge.
McLeod is the No.16-ranked player on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters and is expected to be selected in the first round of this year's draft. Michael McLeod, the middle brother, was selected by the New Jersey Devils with the 12th overall pick in 2016 and Matt McLeod, the oldest of the three, just finished his junior year at Canisius College in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.
"Ryan is more of a playmaker; his hockey instincts are a little bit better than Mike's," said Karl Stewart of NHL Central Scouting to NHL.com. "He's a true center who can synergize a line and can get the puck to his wingers."
Ryan is giving his older siblings a run for their money after he missed the 2017 draft age cutoff by only a few days. He heads into his first year of draft eligibility with three full seasons of play in the Ontario Hockey League with the Mississauga Steelheads.
Prior to joining the Steelheads, he was selected third overall in the 2015 OHL Draft by the Flint Firebirds. Michael was already playing for Mississauga at the time, so the Firebirds franchise traded Ryan's rights to Mississauga for six picks so the brothers could play together.
"I think we're different players, to be honest," Michael said of Ryan to NHL.com. "I'm more straight forward, drive the puck to the net. Ryan is one of the more creative and skilled guys in the Ontario Hockey League and one of its best skaters. He's got amazing hands and once he adds some grit to his game and gives it back to people, I think he's going to be a good player."
Before entering the OHL, Ryan had a stand-out minor-midget season with the Toronto Marlboros in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. The squad won the 2015 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament, and he was the tournament MVP with seven points. That year he also won GTHL Player of the Year.
On that team was Matthew Strome, the third of the Strome brothers, all of whom have gone through an NHL Draft. Growing up, the McLeod brothers often battled with Matthew, Dylan and Ryan Strome.
"We had a huge rink and there were always a few fights, but there was also good hockey out there," Ryan McLeod said to NHL.com. "We lived five minutes from the Stromes, so we were up playing road and pond hockey with them all the time. We all went to the same middle school and high school, so it was a fun environment growing up."
His time playing with the Stromes and his older brothers helped prepare Ryan to compete with players at a high level.
In his 2017-18 season with the Steelheads, Ryan McLeod tallied 70 points (26 goals, 44 assists) in 68 contests and was 50 percent on faceoffs. He led Mississauga with 10 points (six goals, four assists) in six OHL playoff games.
"He had a quiet 70 points," Mississauga coach James Richmond said to NHL.com. "He's had some games where I know he's been frustrated but he's such a competitor… He thinks the game well, competes hard and plays up and down the middle of the ice. He's very good in the defensive zone and really pushes the puck up the ice at high speed and that's the way the game is now."
Having watched his brother Michael go through an NHL Draft as a top prospect just a couple of years ago, the process of waiting for your name to be called is more familiar to Ryan than most and it is something he is looking forward to.
"I'm excited for the draft," said Ryan McLeod. "Mike gave me tips on how to talk to people. Having gone through that whole day with him, I hope will make it a little easier for me come draft day."