NHL Draft

Ryan Leonard 2023 NHL Draft Profile – Washington Capitals #8 Pick

We are about a week and a half before the NHL Draft Lottery on May 8. This lottery will decide which teams are going to end up drafting this years superstars. The first round of the 2023 NHL Draft will take place on June 28, while the following rounds will occur on June 29.

Ryan Leonard is described as a versatile player with a good shot. Leonard can do what many cannot: play left wing, centre, and right wing. He benefited from playing on the top line with Gabe Perreault and Will Smith, both of whom will also be first-round picks in June. Leonard is committed to Boston College for the 2023–24 season.

2023 NHL Draft Update: Ryan Leonard was selected eighth overall by the Washington Capitals.

Who is Ryan Leonard?

Ryan LeonardRW/CRight5’11”181 lbs

Leonard’s on-ice production

YearDraft RelativeLeagueTeamGPGAP
2021–22D-1USDPU.S. National U17 Team26101020
USDPU.S. National U18 Team3616723
USHLUSNTDP Juniors3310515
WJC-18USA U186516
2022–23D+0USDPU.S. National U18 Team55504191
USHLUSNTDP Juniors1711920
WJC-18USA U1857714

Leonard spent a few years at Pope Francis Prep before joining the USDP in 2021–22. He had a decent D-1 year, scoring 20 points in 26 games with the U17 team, and 23 points in 36 games with the U18 team. Leonard also went to the U18 World Junior Championships with Team USA, scoring five goals in six games.

In his D+0 year, Leonard really burst onto the scene and garnered attention. In his 55 games with the U18 Team, Leonard hit the back of the net 50 times and added 41 assists for a total of 91 points. Not bad production for one’s draft year, and his stock has risen dramatically from where it was last year. Leonard is currently at the U18 World Junior Championships, where he is lighting it up alongside the two players he spent all season playing with Will Smith and Gabe Perrault.

Leonard’s strengths

Shot and puck protection

Leonard has a unique release, which seems to work in confusing the opposing goalie, particularly off the rush. On top of that, Leonard has good size already and uses it very effectively. He has the ability to get around opposing defences with ease, either by chipping the puck by and emerging past with speed, or outworking with his body.

All-around play

Energy, speed, and good instincts at all areas of the ice. Because of his first step and strength, he is able to separate himself from opponents quickly, so he can join the rush quickly, or backcheck.

Leonard’s areas of improvement

Not being a passenger

While Leonard possesses many great qualities, he does rely on his teammates too much at times. He is not going to be the guy that stickhandles around two players and makes a perfect cross-ice pass, but rather the guy that is going to disrupt the opposition and make room for his linemates.

Leonard’s comparables

A decent comparable would probably be Matthew Coronato, given the versatility both players have. I would say Leonard is more physical and has a better shot than Coronato, but the energy, versatility, and right handedness are shared between the two players. Others have also made the comparison between Leonard and Joel Farabee.

Fit with the Flames

Calgary could use a player like Leonard, who brings energy, plays hard, and can rip the puck past opposing goalies. The Flames often look for players who bring traits like versatility and defensive awareness, such as Calle Jarnkrok at last year’s trade deadline. It also doesn’t hurt that Leonard is a right shot who primarily plays on the right wing.

Since Leonard is more of a passenger player rather than a creator, he could easily fit with one of Calgary’s playmakers and create space for them. He might not be a top line player, but I could definitely see a fit on a second or third line, wearing down other teams best players. To me, Leonard perfectly encapsulates a modern day player who would be effective in a Darryl Sutter system. Although I don’t think Sutter would be around when Leonard joins the team.


Ryan Leonard probably isn’t going to score you 90 points a season, but he is going to be an effective NHLer if he pans out. With good physical play, speed, energy, and all-around play, Leonard is going to be a guy that is trusted by his coaches. His shot is also unique, and has puzzled opposing goaltenders all year. His playstyle is one that every team wants on their roster, so I believe he’ll be highly coveted on draft day.

Risk: 2.5/5

Reward: 3.5/5

Projection: Top six energy winger

All TWC 2023 NHL Draft Profiles

Check out more of our individual player profiles of selected 2023 NHL Draft prospects:

Connor Bedard | Matvei Michkov | Adam Fantilli | Leo Carlsson | Zach Benson | Andrew Cristall | Oliver Moore

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