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The son of former NHLer Curtis Leschyshyn, Jake Leschyshyn is following in his father’s footsteps. He was the sixth overall pick in the 2014 Bantam Draft by the Red Deer Rebels, but was later traded to the Regina Pats in a move that was meant to strengthen Red Deer for the 2015 WHL Playoffs. While his father was a defenceman, he plays upfront as a centre. Lechyshyn was in the midst of a solid season, when he tore his ACL in February. The injury required surgery, but Leschyshyn is expected to be back on the ice in September.
Before his injury Leschyshyn had 17 goals and 40 points in 47 games for Regina. He also played in the CHL Top Prospects game, picking up an empty net goal in helping Team Cherry to the victory. Last season he played for Team Canada Black at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge.
Jake Leschyshyn Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #59
Center — shoots Left
Born March 10th, 1999 — Grasswood, Saskatchewan
Height 5’11” — Weight 182 lbs [180 cm / 83 kg]
Leschyshyn’s skating improved a lot this season, though there is still a ways to go in some areas. Give his latest injury, there may be some concern if he can hit that level. He showed a tremendous first step, and very good acceleration. However, he needs to round out his overall skating technique. His top end speed is decent but can continue to improve with a longer skating stride. He also could stand to add more lower body muscle and power, improving his balance, and allowing Leschyshyn to be stronger on the puck.
Jake Leschyshyn plays a gritty style. He never stops moving his feet, chasing down loose pucks, battling in the corners and getting to the front of the net. Leschyshyn has the hand-eye co-ordination to make plays in tight to the net. He can score on rebounds, deflections, and by making a quick move to open up space on a goalie. Leschyshyn might be undersized, but he never shies away from a battle, and can often be found at the middle of an after the whistle scrum.
Most of Leschyshyn’s assists come from playing that tenacious style. He can often come out of the corner with a loose puck, or control it down low in the cycle. Once Leschyshyn sees an opportunity, he is not afraid to drive to the net. He has decent vision, and can set up a teammate with a good pass as he works off the wall. Leschyshyn has very good hockey sense. He sees plays develop and gets to where the puck is going.
Leschyshyn brings his tenacious style to his own end of the ice as well. He works hard on the backcheck, and brings a relentless style of puck pursuit. He gets in the face of opposing players and is generally a pest to play against. Strong positioning and the hockey IQ to read the play and anticipate a step ahead are also key assets. He has played a lot of penalty kill minutes in Regina.
Projection and Comparison
Jake Leschyshyn’s injury has the potential to push him further down draft boards than he would otherwise go. He has the potential to be a top two centre in the NHL, but rebounding from that injury and continuing his development will be key. His ability to play two-way hockey and work against other team’s best players in the WHL means that even if his offensive development were to stall he could still carve out an NHL career. Leschyshyn will have the opportunity to be a key forward for the Pats next year, as they host the 100th Memorial Cup. Such an experience can only help him. In terms of style, Leschyshyn plays like a mix of Brendan Gallagher, and Bo Horvat. However, this is a style based comparison only, and not one based on talent.
The following is a compilation of videos, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect available on our draft board.