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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Draft Target Ryan Leonard Could Be Draft Day Surprise



Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have a few targets for the 2023 NHL Draft, and one of them to keep an eye on is Ryan Leonard.

The 7th ranked prospect in the MHN 2023 NHL Draft Rankings, Leonard has rocketed up the rankings across the board thanks to his exceptional goal-scoring pace and physical play.

His new-age power forward style took shape this season on the potent top line for the US National Development Team, alongside Will Smith and Gabe Perreault.

Leonard credits playing with such skilled players for helping him break out of his shell and unlock some of the potential; which led to a notable uptick in production and performance on a collective and individual level.

“Playing with Will (Smith) and Gabe (Perreault) really helped me believe in myself more as a skill player,” said Leonard about his growth this season. “It gave me more confidence to try things that we would work on at practice and add even more options to my arsenal. They helped make me a better player, and I feel I did the same for them. We were such a tight-knit group that we fed off each other and pushed ourselves to get better.

MHN recently reported that the Montreal Canadiens have been following Leonard closely over the season, with many members of the organization impressed with Leonard’s exceptional performance at this year’s IIHF U-18 Tournament.

Scoring eight goals and 17 points in seven games, including the gold-medal-winning tally in overtime, Leonard cemented his position among the top players in this class; a player capable of doing it all and rising up for the big moments when they mattered most.

Playing Under Pressure

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is looking to add skill and speed to his organization, but he’s doing so with particular attention to a player’s ability to handle pressure.

Given the reality of the Montreal market, any player the Habs select will have to be one that can not only deal with pressure, but rise above it.

For Leonard, not only does he welcome the pressure, he thrives on it.

“It’s a privilege to be in that spot and, if there’s pressure on you, it’s because you’re a good player. That’s an honour for any player to have, to be depended on and I welcome it. I want people to expect me to be better; that pushes me to go above and beyond every game and get those big goals. I feed off of it, and I’d much rather play in that kind of an environment because I pride myself on bringing my best every single game.”

Those are some fighting words from one of the more all-around players in the draft, which isn’t to say he doesn’t excel in any category; far from it.

Leonard is one of the best goalscorers in the draft class, potting 51 goals in 57 games for the NTDP, and he can hurt you in many ways. Leonard has one of the most potent wrist shots in the class, especially on the rush. He’s also a fearless net-front presence, capable of deflecting shots and acting as a screen. Whatever you need, he’ll get it done.

He’s also one of the more physical players at the top of the class, playing a heavy and power-focused game; beating defenders with his speed and using his body to protect the puck and get inside position for a quick shot on net.

For Leonard, being that new-age power forward is second nature, and it’s not something he plans on changing at the next level.

“I pride myself on my shot. I think I’m a goalscorer with a physical edge that can make a difference in a big game,” said Leonard. “I love the rough stuff, getting into people’s faces and getting them off their game, but, when the puck is on my stick, I’m pushing to the net and playing a skilled game as well. I want to be a player that can do it all.”

A Real Option For Montreal?

The Montreal Canadiens are considering a handful of players with the 5th overall pick, and Ryan Leonard is one of those players.

His combination of goal-scoring, physical play and speed make him one of those rare players that can do it all on a team; making an impact in all three zones and doing so with flash.

The other added bonus is Leonard’s existing relationship with Kent Hughes, whom he learned to know and befriend in the Massachusetts hockey scene. Although Hughes wasn’t Leonard’s coach, like current linemate Will Smith, the two know each other well and keep in contact when possible.

“I speak to Kent whenever he’s around. He’s a really fun person to talk to about hockey,” said Leonard on Hughes. “We’ve never talked about anything Canadiens related, but he’s a good guy to bounce ideas off of and know in the hockey world.”

Outside of his personal connections, Leonard figures favourably among the top players to ever come out of the US National Development Program, along the likes of players like Cole Caufield, Trevor Zegras, and Logan Cooley.

Make no mistake, he’s a legitimate prospect in the 5 to 10th overall range that will jump off the board rather quickly.

If he can develop similar top-end ability like the aforementioned players, to go along with that snarl in his game, he could become quite the special player down the line.



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Montreal will be faced with selecting Smith or Michkov. Whichever one is available is the one to select. I personally will not accept anyone other.


Many prognosticators have Leonard going at #7 to Philly. The Habs would be mistaken not to select Michov if he’s still available at #5.

William O'Neill

With all the picks we have I don’t like the idea of trading down. While Leonard is talented I still think Smith would be a better choice at five. Imagine finding a way to get both!


Mtl best option after Bedard/Fantille gone is Leonard at 5th and hopefully,…Smith is more of a Marner type player (good season but lacks in playoff time)…who’s Leonard…more like a Matthew Tkachuk. Ideally, trade Panthers’s pick (29-32) and someone like Farrell or Beck/Mezar to advance midway (10-14) and select is linemate Gabriel Perreault. With Ryan Leonard he will bring more in playoff time than any of the first 6-7 top candidate right now..You know this Marco (another ex; remember picking Brady Vs Jesperi) Hes a better overall player than Logan Cooley will ever be for example…bigger, more rugged, score more goals…this same Logan Cooley that Mtl considered their first pick overall last year…seriously.

Last edited 14 days ago by Calvin
john harmsworth

I wouldn’t trade Beck unless it was a ridiculous return, but otherwise, I like your thinking.

Mike Pare

Habs DRAFT HIM !!!

MHN 2023 NHL Draft

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