Ryan McLeod: Edmonton Oilers Swiss Army Knife

Edmonton Oilers Forward Ryan McLeod #71. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers Forward Ryan McLeod #71. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /

This is going to be Ryan McLeod’s first season as a full time NHL player. He did play in a few games last season with the Edmonton Oilers. So far in his short NHL career he has done an excellent job of finding a niche in this Edmonton Oilers line up.

Edmonton Oilers Swiss Army Knife

A Swiss Army Knife is a pocket knife that has a variety of attachments that make it useful in more than one way. This is the type of player that Ryan McLeod has become. He can be used in many different ways.

The coach for the Edmonton Oilers, Jay Woodcroft, has figured out that you can put McLeod anywhere in the forward lineup and he can succeed in that spot. This is an excellent trait for both McLeod and the Oilers, as Ryan can fill any spot in case of injury or if a player is struggling.

The fact that he can play either centre or winger is one of his best attributes. It makes him almost impossible to take out of the lineup. It also makes it easier for other players to come out if they are struggling cause whether they are a winger or centre McLeod can take their spot.

Even Strength

When playing even strength McLeod is a very good at picking the puck up in his end and skating it out. He doesn’t usually stop at in the neutral zone either, he will skate it into the offensive end and either try and drive the net or start a cycle.

His even strength possession numbers while at even strength also show that when he is on the ice the Oilers have a greater probability to score than to be scored on. That may not be just because of McLeod, but in my opinion he is one of the better Edmonton Oilers at getting the puck out of the Oilers zone and into the opposing teams end.

Power play

The issue with Ryan McLeod’s powerplay success is that this Edmonton Oilers team has many high skilled players that means McLeod gets very little actual time on the power play. When he is on the power play he is a very good driver. He is the ‘Connor McDavid” of PP2.

He is the forward that picks the puck up from defenceman in the neutral zone and skate it in the offensive zone where the power play can then set up. He is fairly good at doing that too from what we get to see. Unfortunately the second unit power play only will get maximum 30 seconds of time on a 2 minute advantage.

I personally would like to see McLeod get more opertunity on the power play, but I really don’t see it happening for a long time as the forward core of that first unit is locked in long term.

Penalty Kill

The penalty kill is where I think McLeod will have a long term future with this Edmonton Oilers team. He is already heavily relied on in that role and as he grows as a player in the NHL he will only get better.

His speed and long reach are what make him such a good penalty kill player. So far this season per, Natural Stattrick, Mcleod has been on the ice while short handed for 68:16 in that time he has only been on the ice for 6 goals against. He has also be on the ice for 1 goal for. The fact that he has only been -5 for 68:16 of short handed is incredible.

The Edmonton Oilers penalty kill is much better when McLeod is out there. The only area I would like to see him improve on is his face offs. This is something that really needs to improve moving forward. Not just shorthanded, but at all strength of the game.

WIth Ryan McLeod being a restricted free agent at the end of the season the Edmonton Oilers him to be on the list of restricted forwards that need to be re-signed. I hope that the Edmonton Oilers don’t focus to much on Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi and forget about McLeod. If they do they could be losing a very valuable asset.

Next. The Oilers need to re-sign Brett Kulak. dark