Golden Knights Top Prospect Rankings: #9 Jake Leschyshyn

Golden Knights Top Prospect Rankings: #9 Jake Leschyshyn

Name: Jake Leschyshyn

Position: C

Age: 19

Place of Birth: Raleigh, NC (Now residing in Grasswood, Saskatchewan, Canada)

Height: 5’11’’

Weight: 190lbs

Shoots: Left

Picked: 2nd round, 2017, 62nd Overall

2017/18 Season:

Regina Pats – 64 Games, 18 Goals, 22 Assists, 40 Points, Plus/Minus: -12

There are days in your life that will come to define you. Days will forever embed themselves in your memory. How you react and move on from the events of that day will define who you are.For Jake Leschyshyn, one of those dates is February 3rd, 2017.

Before then, the Raleigh native had been tearing up the WHL with his explosive first step and play making ability. Many experts had him pegged for a late first round/early second round pick. Then on that fateful day, Jake would suffer a devastating ACL tear, which ended his season and required surgery and rehabilitation. An injury this severe has ended more than one NHL career prematurely. Leschyshyn refuses to spend rest of his life wondering what could have been. After six months of hellish rehab, Jake was back on the ice before training camps began. The injury caused his draft stock to drop significantly but McPhee decided to bet on this tenacious player and selected him with the last pick in the second round.

So McPhee, with a very valuable pick, decided to draft an injured center that may never return to his pre-injury form. Why would he do that? In Vegas, sometimes you have to take a gamble.  But this gamble could just pay off:

The NHL is in Jake’s blood. His father, Curtis, played more than 1000 NHL games and helped the 1996 Colorado Avalanche win the Stanley Cup. Jake grew up around the game and inherited the same hard-work ethic that Curtis showed in his lengthy career. Jake never gives up on a play until it’s whistled dead, he is a nightmare for goalies to deal with as he constantly battles for the puck and getting rebounds. Goalies cannot just make one play against Leschyshyn, they need to make at least two to try and stop him. Adding to this is one of the most explosive first steps in the game, that has only gotten better as his speed and skating have improved. Add to that his smooth hands and ability to take passes in stride and it paints a pretty picture of the energy forward from Regina.

Now, with all that being said, the concerns surrounding Leschyshyn are indeed valid. His ACL injury was nasty, which was why McPhee and Gallant had him in no-contact jerseys all throughout the 2017 training camp. This is also probably the main reason why his point production this year didn’t improve over last year. Realistically, Leschyshyn didn’t just get hurt, he lost 6 months of development and training to injury, and may still not entirely healthy. Leschyshyn was never an elite skater, and the injury to his knee has only compounded the need for improvement. He has been making strides (get it?) on that front, but in order to be effective at the pro level, Leschyshyn will need to make speed and agility his prime focus this off-season.

Make no mistake about it, taking Leschyshyn is a big risk. McPhee used a high value draft pick to take him, hoping that Jake can return to the form he showed before his injury. So far, Jake has responded to McPhee’s vote of confidence by working hard and making several key plays in the CHL’s Memorial Cup. He’ll need to put on muscle and learn to play against grown men before he’ll have any chance at stealing a job with Vegas. Expect Jake to spend one more season in the CHL and at least one season in the AHL. Jake wants to forge his own legacy in the NHL and with the drive, the work ethic and the talent he has shown, he could do just that with the Golden Knights. February 3rd changed him, but he didn’t allow it to define him.

Vegas’ Full Prospect Rankings:

#1 Cody Glass

#2 Nick Suzuki

#3 Erik Brannstrom

#4 Nic Hague

#5 Lucas Elvenes

#6 Maxim Zhukov

#7 Ben Jones

#8 Zach Whitecloud

#9 Jake Leschyshyn

#10 Jack Dugan

#11 Dylan Coghlan

#12 Jonas Rondbjerg

Game Calendar

August 2018