This week’s prospects include Jake Leschyshyn (Regina Pats), Adam Ruzicka (Sarnia Sting) & Maxime Fortier (Halifax Mooseheads).
Jake Leschyshyn, Regina Pats, WHL
Weight: 182 lbs.
Born: March 10, 1999 – Grasswood, Saskatchewan, Canada
Draft: 2014 WHL Draft - Round #1 (6th overall) by the Red Deer Rebels
Jake Leschyshyn is a real talented centreman on a very deep Regina team primed to go far in the WHL playoffs. He brings a ton of energy and plays with a chip on his shoulder for a full 60 minutes each night. Has worked hard on his skating and he has gained strength and balance in his skating over the course of the season. His first step is explosive and he can accelerate and collect a pass on the fly. Attracts a ton of attention around the net screening the goalie and collecting rebounds and loose pucks. Plays in all three zones and has tremendous work ethic. Works hard down low and works until he comes out of the corners with the puck. Is a key penalty killer and sees time on a potent Regina power play unit.
DID YOU KNOW? Leschyshyn was drafted by Red Deer but didn't play a game for them as he was traded away in January 2015 to Regina for Connor Gay and draft picks. He dressed in twelve games for Regina in the 2014-15 season as 15-year old. Son of former NHL defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn who played over 1,000 games and won a Stanley Cup in 1996 with Colorado.
Adam Ruzicka, Centre, Sarnia Sting, OHL
Weight: 209 lbs.
Born: May 11, 1999 – Bratislava, Slovakia
Draft: 2016 CHL Import Draft - Round #2 (107th overall) by the Sarnia Sting
A lot more was expected from Adam Ruzicka this season but what he has given Sarnia has been a big body down the middle who has good hands and can distribute the puck well. A pass-first Centre who has soft hands around the net with dangerous offensive tools. A hard shot that handcuffs goalies. Plays a physical game when he wants and can also choose to play a passive game when he wants. Uses his long reach to receive passes well and maneuver in traffic. Strong upper body gives him the edge in the face off circle. Not putting up points expected and doesn't seem engaged in the play every shift and his effort to win the puck isn't strong. Shows the potential to be a first round pick but needs to compete every shift in every game.
DID YOU KNOW? Ruzicka has a history of suiting up for Slovakia in International competitions including Captaining the U16 team in 2014-15, and Assistant Captain on the U17 team. Competed in the last two Ivan Hlinka tournaments where he captained the U18 team and most recently skated for Slovakia in the World Junior Championships (U20) where he recorded one goal in five games.
Maxime Fortier, RW, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL
Weight: 176 lbs.
Born: December 15, 1997 – Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Draft: 2013 QMJHL Draft - Round #2 (34th overall) by the Halifax Mooseheads
Maxime Fortier’s skating puts him in the top tier of best skaters available in the draft. Powerful strides and can get it in top gear with only a few short strides. Keeps the puck alive in the offensive zone by creating plays and puts the puck into open space to retrieve. An improved shot over the last year has made him a much more dangerous scoring threat whenever the puck is on his stick. Real good hands in close and is smart puck handler. Isn't overly physical but will get his nose dirty in the greasy areas. Likes to control the pace and has the ability to slow the game down. Needs to work on defensive zone coverage and build up some upper body strength but is determined to win every night and displays a highly intense compete level.
DID YOU KNOW? Fortier was one of the best players not drafted in his draft season in 2016 despite scoring 31 goals and recording 77 points for Halifax. He is now skating alongside fellow Draft eligible forward Nico Hischier and making it very hard for Scouts to ignore him this season already on pace to obliterate his scoring totals of last season.
1) 6 Promising NCAA Hockey Players To Watch This Year
2) Big Names on the Move Following QMJHL Trade Deadline
3) Max Gerlach Bounces Back in Off-Season
4) Common Hockey Injuries and How to Treat Them
5) Meet the 2018 World Junior Team Canada