With their second-round pick, the Caps have selected RW Brett Leason from the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.
Leason was passed over for both the 2017 and 2018 drafts, but appears to have taken some steps forward this season. Prior to today’s draft, Leason was given the E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence by NHL Central Scouting, awarded to a draftee who “best exemplifies the commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness and athleticism”.
“Brett personifies the true meaning of the EJ McGuire Award and is a deserving recipient,” Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said.
”This award encompasses the best traits of our game and the recipient this year portrays these core attributes having displayed the type of dedication, motivation and passion that is required to improve both on and off the ice in pursuing the goal of playing in the National Hockey League,” Marr said.
”In Brett Leason, you have a player who has persevered through going undrafted, being traded, playing through injury, yet all the while continuing to apply himself to improve and be the best he could be which resulted in a spot on Canada’s World Junior Championship team, a WHL championship with the Prince Albert Raiders and positioning himself to be selected in the 2019 NHL Draft.”
Pre-draft rankings for Leason:
- Ranked #34 by THE ATHLETIC
- Ranked #41 by HOCKEYPROSPECT.COM
- Ranked #28 by FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS
- Ranked #29 by ISS HOCKEY
- Ranked #34 by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
- Ranked #25 by NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (NA Skaters)
- Ranked #44 by ELITEPROSPECTS.COM
- Ranked #34 by TSN/McKenzie
Here’s our own Luke Adomanis on Leason:
Brett Leason is a very interesting case. It’s not just his size that makes him a standout, but age. He is a double overager (meaning he wasn’t selected in his first two drafts). It’s not often a double overager is even drafted, let alone in the first round. But there’s a reason he’s been climbing up the draft boards this season. He is the complete package: he’s not only an absolute unit, but he can skate and has fantastic offensive skill. He’s not just a bigger, older guy that’s just pushing kids around to rack up points; he’s using his high end vision and ripper of a shot to score goals.
Corey Pronman from the Athletic weighs in:
Leason was a significant riser all season. He was one of the top players in the WHL and, as a third-year, draft-eligible worked his way onto Canada’s World Junior Championship team. There were times early in the season I thought Leason wasn’t for me, but he grew on me as the season went along. He’s 6-foot-4, but also has an intriguing skill set. He’s not a highlight reel player by any means, but he has decent puck skills and can create offense with very good vision. He’s aware of his surroundings and can put pucks into seams. The biggest reason for Leason’s jump as a prospect was his skating. It improved from poor to potentially above-average. He can turn the corner occasionally on defensemen. Leason’s skating tests well, but in-game, his pace is very average. He’s big and strong, showing good puck protection skills. He’s not overly physical but competes well.
Prince Albert Raiders coach Marc Habscheid on Leason: “He’s smart. He found that extra step in his stride. He got quicker off the mark, faster. He’s big and skilled.”
Check out some highlights of Leason from this past year:
More to come...