After a season long goal drought Ray Shero and John Hynes have been looking up to their Director of Scouting, Paul Castron who was looking to deliver a big value steal in the first round. Over the last few months before the draft as a Devils fan and a Running With The Devils Podcast member my list was in order of: Keller, McLeod, Jost, Chychrun.
But a month ago my buddy The Backhanded Devil saved my post saying “I have Michael McLeod going to the New Jersey Devils in the first round.” As I was getting out of work one night I looked at my phone and I saw on my NHL app that “Michael McLeod” made the Devils. I did the same thing when I mentioned Pavel Zacha is a very possible Devils 1st rounder in 2015 with the last 2 months to go before the draft. But 4 months before I was high on Mitch Marner and Zacha as my top 2 possible forwards.
What I really kept control of was Ray Shero’s mantra of “Fast, attacking, and supportive” when I was utilizing YouTube I really liked what I saw in Michael McLeod because he had that skill set, the size, the intelligence but I felt he needed to bulk up like most other critics would want. I’m not too worried at all because I know he’s going to bulk up when he goes back to Mississauga for another year or two there in the Ontario Hockey League.
When Bob McKenzie and Craig Button weighed in on McLeod as a “Ryan Kesler” with extra speed, and as they mentioned that McLeod had the best speed in the draft for a for a forward. From a fans perspective you need a guy like Michael because of his speed, and determination. This day in hockey you have a lot of forwards with a lot of horse power that can fly down the ice.
If you are a GM or fantasy team owner you need that finish where goalies will regret letting a forward like McLeod getting any extra ice to deke you out of position. But what I also like about having McLeod is that Shero and company drafted his buddy Nathan Bastian who is his line mate back in Mississauga. With a guy like Bastian on the same line as McLeod those two guys can be the “Steelhead Duo.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp0W-MINx5E
I feel if McLeod and Bastian can form a long-term chemistry, and pan out on the New Jersey Devils roster 4-6 seasons later I can see them helping the Devils become a playoff contender that has a lot of heart, and soul. It is important for them to have all those factors that will make New Jersey a very special market for highly skilled players that want to become part of a new culture under the Shero Era. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijbx2pSyJkY
One of the other notes is that Ray had 2 great centers he inherited in Crosby and Malkin when he became the GM back in Pittsburgh. That’s what I think Shero did with his intentions to build from the recent draft with McLeod and Bastian as forwards.