If Jake Leschyshyn had the chance to shine on the big stage this season, it’s entirely possible we’re discussing him as a prospect on the fringe of the first round.
A torn knee ligament took Leschyshyn from the Regina Pats’ lineup in February, and he didn’t recover in time to make a return for the playoffs. His Pats soldiered on to a WHL Championship appearance, though, bowing out to the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games.
Leschyschyn can take solace in the fact that he made the most of the 47 games he did play this season, as it should be more than enough to buoy him into the middle of the draft. That’s about where he checks in on the Nations Network Prospect Profiles, as our 57th ranked draft prospect.
- Age: 18-years-old, 1999-03-10
- Birthplace: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
- Position: C
- Handedness: L
- Draft Year Team: Regina Pats – WHL
- Frame: 5’11”, 182 lbs.
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It was easy to not notice Leschyshyn playing on a stacked Regina Pats team, but he was a player who always caught my eye for good reasons. The son of former NHLer Curtis Leschyshyn (the No. 3 overall pick in 1988) is not a blazing skater, but his speed is solid to above average. He hustles on every shift, and with his IQ/work ethic combo, he can project to play the center position reliably as a pro. Leschyshyn has quality stick skills, and while his game is more north-south than east-west, he can make skilled plays and be dangerous off the rush. He can be used on both special teams effectively, though he’s a bit stronger of a penalty killer than he is a playmaker with the man advantage. His season ended early due to a torn knee ligament.
A hard working center who is solid in both zones and a physical presence with or without the puck, using his momentum to bowl over the opposition…has good touch with the puck…skating ability just screams power as he forcefully skates like a bullet shot out of rifle maximizing each stride…has the quickness and tools to be an effective in transition…makes adjustments to protect the puck…loves to shoot the puck and can quickly gather pucks and whistle them on net…has good vision of the ice…lives for the lower half of the o-zone where space is tight and he can quickly pivot to a lane for a quick chance…compete is ratcheted to 10 on every play and he goes all out…all over the ice putting pressure on the forecheck before coming all the way back to support in his teams zone…has the compete to get into shot lanes and make tough plays on the boards…IQ also allows him to recognize plays that he can make to impact opponents chances…never seems to be static on the ice…relentless motor…will likely play pro as he has the work ethic and smarts to play a bottom six role at the very least. (November 2016)
Jake Leschyshyn is a real talented centreman on a very deep Regina team primed to go far in the WHL playoffs. He brings a ton of energy and plays with a chip on his shoulder for a full 60 minutes each night. Has worked hard on his skating and he has gained strength and balance in his skating over the course of the season. His first step is explosive and he can accelerate and collect a pass on the fly. Attracts a ton of attention around the net screening the goalie and collecting rebounds and loose pucks. Plays in all three zones and has tremendous work ethic. Works hard down low and works until he comes out of the corners with the puck. Is a key penalty killer and sees time on a potent Regina power play unit.
There isn’t a whole lot that Leschyschyn can’t do. He’s a Swiss army knife that way. The Pats used Leschyschyn as their shutdown centre at even strength and as the anchor of their first unit penalty kill and second unit power play.
I tend to think Leschychyn’s skating plays a significant role in his ability to slide seamlessly into any part of the lineup. There’s some serious pop in Leschychyn’s first step. Speed is the name of Leschyshyn’s game, and he uses it to create separation when he attacks the offensive zone and to close in the defensive zone.
Scouts often fawn about Leshychyn’s work ethic and his ‘motor’. I can’t speak to Leschychyn’s work ethic; that comes with talking to the kid and his coach, and I’d be lying if I’d said I’d done either. Based on the way he brings it each and every shift, it certainly seems believable from afar that those qualities are present.
When we view Leschychyn’s injury-shortened season through the pGPS lens, about 20% of the players in his sizeable cohort of 282 statistically similar players went on to develop into full-time NHL’ers. The expected points per 82 games among those players is 42.2 per full season.
Leschyschyn’s weighted line assignment is as a third line forward, which aligns nicely with his skill set and what I see as his most likely career path if he’s to make it as an NHL forward.