Top prospect for Edmonton Oilers third line centre is so close yet so far

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Like fellow rookie Kirill Maksimov, McLeod had limited success offensively in his first AHL season. However, unlike Maksimov, McLeod received plenty of opportunity on the Top 2 lines and on the power play. At one point, he was playing the left defence spot on PP1, penalty killing on the 2nd unit, and was on the top line with Cooper Marody and Kailer Yamamoto. He was clocked around 20 minutes a game for a few games in November, and again in February. You could tell he was one of the players the coaching staff trusted in all situations. He was rewarded with ice time accordingly.

Despite all that opportunity, it didn’t really translate to the scoresheet. It’s not that McLeod was playing poorly. He had his share of rookie mistakes but overall was sound positionally, responsible defensively, and played centre and the wing. But there was still something missing in his game. Quite often his play was too passive in the offensive zone. He still needs to battle harder for pucks and attempt to get high danger scoring areas more. McLeod can shoot the puck and is a terrific passer but fly-bys and perimeter possession were still too common in multiple viewings throughout the year.