With the eighth pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Washington Capitals selected Ryan Leonard. The Caps didn’t trade up and the Philadelphia Flyers took Matvei Michkov with the seventh pick.
But overall this was a good choice by Brian MacLellan and Ross Mahoney.
"Leonard is dangerous with the puck in the offensive zone, possessing a pro-calibre shot and hands. He is incredibly deceptive, using his upper body and eyes to turn defenders’ feet and sticks before walking around them or getting a shot on net. Leonard is a great facilitator, as well. After making a move, he can find guys in stride in dangerous spots. An above-average skater, Leonard can employ all of these tools off the rush too, making him even more versatile."
With the United States National U18 Team with the National Team Development Program he had 51 goals and 43 assists for 94 pints in 57 games.
With the US National Team Development Program Juniors of the USHL he had 20 points in 17 games with 11 goals and nine assists.
As an alternate captain for USA U18 of the WJC 18 he had 17 points in seven games with eight goals and nine assists. He’s a center that’s 18 years old and listed as five foot 11 and 181 pounds.
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He was born on Jan. 21, 2005.
During the ESPN broadcast, Emily Kaplan said that one GM told her that Leonard reminded him of the Tkachuk brothers. Leonard said, ” I think it’s pretty honoring. Those guys are truly special players. To be compared to those guys, it’s pretty honoring.”
He said that us Caps fans would learn that he can bring a competitiveness to the team. ESPN analysts even compared him to a Tom Wilson like player.
It looks like the Caps now have their American Hero. We’ll have more.