Mike McLeod entered the 2020-21 NHL season with just five points under his belt, all assists, in his 33 games of NHL experience over two seasons. By season's end, McLeod added 52 appearances to his resume, his first NHL goal (plus eight more), and 15 points.
On Thursday, McLeod re-upped with the club that drafted him, putting pen to paper on a new two-year contract with a $975,000 average annual value.
It was a year of much success for the 2016 first-round draft pick (12th overall), becoming a regular in the Devils lineup, often lining up with Nathan Bastian and Miles Wood to create an energy line that would compete against the very best every night. It's a role that McLeod relished, and has worked toward for many years after parts of three seasons with the Devils American League affiliate.
"I wanted to kind of solidify, solidify myself as an NHLer by the end of the season," McLeod shared in early April, "and from the start of the year until now, it's been a ton better."
A ton better indeed, with his 51.5 percent face-off win percentage ranking second on the team, behind only Nico Hischier, and had two game-winning goals, ranking tied for third (Miles Wood) on the 2020-21 roster. This past season, McLeod found himself as a regular in the NHL lineup for the first time in his career.
With that work McLeod has put in, and the success he found this season, the 23-year-old was rewarded with a new two-year contract, coming off his Entry-Level deal.