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Devils’ Top Prospect, Michael McLeod, is Tearing. It. Up.

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Michael McLeod is in the OHL playoffs and he is among the most electric players in the league right now. I talk about his performance and its context.

2016 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to Brian’s Prospect Updates or not, but the Devils’ 2016 first rounder (#12 overall), Michael McLeod’s, Mississauga Steelheads are up 3 games to none in the OHL Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Peterborough Petes — it’s also just striking me how totally Canada the names of these teams are.

But anyway, here’s the bracket:

If you need context, you can view the regular season final standings from EliteProspects. The Petes were the best team in the inferior Eastern Conference, finishing with 89 points, 8 better than McLeod’s Steelheads. But they’ve outscored Peterborough 10-4 in this season — with McLeod scoring or assisting 6 of those 10. They will run into either the Eerie Otters (103 points, 1st place) or the Owen Sound Attack (102 pts, 2nd place) which will really test them and McLeod’s hot streak.

McLeod’s Season

Luckily, the OHL does keep game logs, so I was able to create some nice visualizations here for you guys to see how his season went. These are 10-game moving averages of statistics indexed by date. The blue portions are the playoffs.

You can see that this playoff performance, for the most part, is actually not all that surprising. This is indicative of pretty predictable overall trends in his game over the year. Most encouraging are the Points and Shots graphs. They each show him as performing right around his best at the most important time of the year.

The Hot Streak

McLeod’s playoff success has been pretty well-publicized, and deservedly so since he’s 3rd in the league in playoff scoring. But his 23 points in 14 playoff games is just a side effect him just totally flipping a switch since the calendar turned. In particular, since his 6 point outburst against the same Petes on February 24th, he has 44 points in 25 games. Based on NHLe (NHL equivalency) calculations, if he had played the same 58 games for Albany that team-leader John Quennville scored 46 points in, McLeod would have scored 70 points—leding Albany by over 20. Now of course that’s ridiculous. Not because of the projection, these estimate actually aren’t terrible. But a player that good would never stay in Albany, so let’s look at his actual NHLe numbers. The aforementioned rate would convert to an NHLe of 46 points over 82 NHL games. That would put him 3rd on the team, behind only Hall and Palmieri. S.T.U.D.

If we’re comparing him to the most recent top Devil prospect, Pavel Zacha, then Zacha had 64 points in 51 regular season games, before also having a great postseason. That ratio gives him an NHL of 33. He actually got 24 points in 70 games, which would project to 28 — only 5 off the projection and significantly lower than McLeod.

Summary

Michael McLeod is good, and if you’re not already paying attention to the OHL playoffs, start. If you want to watch the games, then you can catch them on OHL Live for $7 per game. If you plan on watching every game (minimum 4 games left), then you can get the Team Pass for $26. I may get it anyway though because apparently Archival games are included in the deal as well and I may wanna check out McLeod’s tape if I want to build hope for the future.