NHL Draft Profile #65: Johnathan MacLeod

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Johnathan MacLeod was a key defensive defender for the US NTDP this past season. While teammates Jack Glover and Jack Dougherty were more two-way players, there was no doubt that MacLeod was the guy whose main job was defending his own end of the ice. Don’t be fooled by the lack of stats during the season, MacLeod was a key piece of the team and one of the reasons that the Americans came home from the 2014 IIHF World Under 18 Hockey Championship with yet another gold medal. He scored two goals in the tournament, but again his key contributions were in front of the American goal. It wasn’t MacLeod’s first experience at the international level, as he was captain of the 2013 Under 17 Team that won bronze at the World Hockey Challenge.

Macleod is committed to play for the Boston University Terriers next season. Should he change his mind and head to the CHL, he was drafted by the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL draft.

Johnathan MacLeod

Defense — shoots Right
Born Jun 2 1996 — Dracut, MA
Height 6.02 — Weight 200 [188 cm/91 kg]

Johnathan Macleod has good size and uses it very effectively, as he just loves to play a physical game. Amongst defencemen in this draft class, I can’t think of any who hit harder, or more often than he does. He just loves to take the body, whether thats catching an attacker with their head down on the rush, or taking out a forward into the boards in his own zone. MacLeod is also very physical in front of the net, clearing the crease to ensure his goalie has a good view of shots, and keeping forwards away from any rebounds. Macleod plays a strong positional game and really doesn’t get caught out of position too often despite all those big hits. He’s also become a very effective shotblocker.

While Macleod hasn’t put up the huge numbers, he does have some intriguing attributes offensively. He handles the puck well, and is able to avoid forecheckers and open up passing lanes in his own zone. When he gets an opening he makes quick, smart passes to his forwards to start the breakout, and can even be very accurate with the long stretch pass. His shot is hard, but he has some issues with getting it through to the net when teams set up shot blocks. He’ll likely never be an offensive defenceman, but he can surprise you from time to time with a big offensive play.

Macleod has average speed in both directions. However he does have good quickness with a solid first step and very good acceleration. He is able to explode into hits, which gives him that heavy-hitting ability. Macleod’s agility, pivots and edgework are average for the draft class, and could use a little bit of work going forward. In terms of balance and strength on his skates Macleod is extremely difficult to knock off the puck.

Jonathan MacLeod’s game is reminiscent of Robyn Regher in his prime. This isn’t a talent comparison but merely a style one. If MacLeod’s game develops, he has the potential to be a number 4 defenceman who brings a physical presence in the NHL.

Come back tomorrow to check out my next prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft.


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