NASHVILLE - The Washington Capitals selected right wing Ryan Leonard with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Leonard, 18, was ranked second among North American right wings and fifth among all North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The Amherst, Massachusetts native spent the 2022-23 season with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program's Under-18 Team recording 94 points (51g, 43a) in 57 games. The 6'0", 190-pound forward led the team in power-play goals (15) and shorthanded goals (3) and ranked third in points. In addition, Leonard ranked second in game-winning goals (7) and plus/minus (+77).

Leonard split the 2021-22 season with the Under-17 and Under-18 NTDP team, recording 20 points (10g, 10a) with the Under-17s and 23 points (16g, 7a) in 36 games with the Under-18s. In 119 games with USA Hockey's NTDP over two seasons, Leonard has registered 137 points (77g, 60a).

Leonard represented the United States at the 2022 and 2023 Under-18 World Championships, winning a silver medal in 2022 and a gold medal in 2023. At the 2023 tournament, Leonard scored the gold-medal clinching goal in overtime against Sweden, giving the United States their first Under-18 gold since 2017. Leonard led all skaters in plus/minus (+16) and finished third in tournament scoring with 17 points (8g, 9a) in seven games.

It marks the first time in franchise history the Capitals have taken a player from USA Hockey's NTDP in the first round and Leonard is the sixth American selected in the opening round by Washington, joining John Carlson (27th overall, 2008), Joe Finely (27th overall, 2005), Pat Peake (14th overall, 1991), Kevin Hatcher (17th overall, 1984) and Bobby Carpenter (3rd overall, 1981). The Capitals drafted Leonard's former NTDP teammate Ryan Chesley in the second round (37th overall) at the 2022 NHL Draft. In addition, Leonard is the first right wing selected by the Capitals in the first round since Tom Wilson (16th overall) in 2012.