Breakout Star of the Month: Ryan McLeod
The 2017 OHL Playoffs had no shortage of edge-of-your-seat style action, with the Mississauga Steelheads being just one of many storylines. The Trout were able to overcome some early season struggles to make a run at the J. Ross Robertson Cup and the OHL Championship.
A large part of the success experienced by the Steelheads came from one of their top players, who has a natural chemistry with the team’s star first round NHL draft pick, Michael McLeod. As a former member of the Toronto Marlboros, Michael’s brother Ryan was a consistent presence as the Steelheads fought through the 2017 playoffs, winning the Bobby Orr Trophy as the Eastern Conference Champions.
Starting with a 4-2 series victory over the Ottawa 67’s, the Steelheads followed up with a 4-1 win over Oshawa Generals, topping off the third round with a 4-0 sweep of the Peterborough Petes. The Steelheads impressive playoff performance would earn them a spot in the OHL Finals against the high-powered Erie Otters.
In a series-clinching game against the 67’s, Ryan would record four assists in the Steelheads 5-1 win. His consistency continued into the next round as he added a goal and three assists in the first four games in the series against the Gens. In the Eastern Conference Final, McLeod would tally six points in the Steelheads’ four-game sweep. McLeeod’s solid playoff performance would continue in the OHL Finals. In 20 playoff games, Ryan managed to become a point-per-game player with five goals and 15 assists.
Back in October, when the team was still working out their chemistry, one pairing was naturally formed by a brotherly bond.
“They’ve lived together everyday of their lives, so they’ve got great chemistry. They’re both really skilled and fast players so you just try to keep up with them,” said teammate Owen Tippet, who’s projected as a top first-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.
“He’s one of the best passers for his age group, so I just try to get open,” said brother Michael McLeod. “It’s not even his draft year this year, so he’s going to be a powerhouse next year going into the draft.”
Ryan McLeod is eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft. As the youngest of three boys, Ryan played alongside Matthew Strome (younger brother of Ryan and Dylan) on the 2014-15 OHL Cup winning Toronto Marlboros.