Anaheim Ducks Draft Profile: Brett Leason

KELOWNA, BC - JANUARY 19: Brett Leason #20 of the Prince Albert Raiders warms up against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on January 19, 2019 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
KELOWNA, BC - JANUARY 19: Brett Leason #20 of the Prince Albert Raiders warms up against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on January 19, 2019 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images) /

With two picks in the first round of this years draft, the Anaheim Ducks need to be smart about their selections. Could 20-year-old Brett Leason be a smart second selection?

The Anaheim Ducks hold two picks in the first round of the upcoming 2019 NHL Entry Draft. We’ve discussed the potential selections with the 9th overall pick ad-nauseam so let’s discuss some potential picks with the latter of the Ducks first round picks.

We’ve discussed a dark-horse defenseman, and the younger brother of a 1st round pick 2 years ago, as possible targets for the Anaheim Ducks. The 2019 NHL Entry Draft is full of forwards poised to make an impact at the next level, but few of them are as interesting of a story as the next prospect we’re going to discuss. Another forward, and one that poses a truly interesting question.

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Brett Leason- Right Winger- From Calgary, Alberta- Current Team: Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)

Brett Leason is a right winger currently playing in the WHL for Prince Albert, standing 6’4 and 201lbs he’s a bigger body than some of the other higher ranked prospects in this draft, but where Leason stands out is that he just recently turned 20. “20?” I hear you ask, “Aren’t most prospects 17 or 18?” Yes, acute observation my friends.

Leason is a curious case as he’s been passed over in the draft not once, but twice which isn’t entirely uncommon. I mean, there are only 217 picks in the draft after all. What is uncommon is for a player who’s been passed over twice, to be considered a likely 1st round pick. In fact, only one player from the CHL has been passed over twice and selected in the 1st round (Tanner Pearson by the LA Kings in 2012).

Why is he suddenly seen as a first-round pick if he wasn’t worth drafting at all the past two years? Firstly he’s taken major strides (no pun intended) with his skating. Leason has always had trouble with his skating, he’s had trouble keeping pace with the other players on the ice and his agility and acceleration were lacking. He worked incredibly hard the last off-season to try and improve his skating and it has paid dividends.

Putting up a remarkable 89 points in 55 games this season, more than doubling his previous career high of 32 points the previous year. Don’t think that he’s suddenly Connor McDavid on his skates, but it’s certainly not the “Achilles heel” it once was for him. Let’s also not forget that Corey Perry’s skating was lambasted and a big reason why he fell as far as he did in the draft and he turned out just fine!

Leason projects as a middle-six winger who could thrive on a team that works him into their offense. Leason is a solid offensive player who can score in several different ways, be it his solid wrist shot, or his big body screening the goalie, to getting greasy goals out front of the crease. Leason also isn’t afraid to get into the dirty areas of the ice and play along the boards.

Leason being older, and more developed physically than his fellow draftees could be appealing to Bob Murray, he’s likely closer to the NHL than most of the others projected to go in the second half of the 1st round, but he likely has a lower ceiling.

Comparison: Blake Wheeler (style of play, not skill-level nor would I expect him to be Blake Wheeler)

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